AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerThe Curse of Knowledge and Coffee Makers

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The Curse of Knowledge and Coffee Makers

We talk about user experience for websites, but we also need to focus on the experience of dealing with our marketing vehicles:20151031_181940_resized

  • Envelopes that will not open without ripping
  • Lobby videos made with audio but the sound is turned down by employees
  • Too-small font sizes on brochures
  • Billboards you can’t read even traveling at 20 miles per hour

This list is long and frustrating to the general public, which defeats the purpose of the communication executions. The problem is what some refer to as the “Curse of Knowledge.” It is difficult for ‘informed people to think about problems from the perspective of uninformed people.’

In other words, put on the other person’s shoes and walk a bit. We were shopping for a new coffee maker at a local store. One of the new coffee maker manufacturers had prepared a video, as you can see from the photo. I pushed the button and blammo — loud music that echoed through the store. It embarrassed my spouse (who quickly walked away) and me. I persevered to see if the video would shed some light on the coffee maker. It didn’t. It was an image video. At that point I wanted to be sold, not branded. I needed information, testimonials and data. Instead I got slo-mo, music and lifestyle video.

The video probably looked really good in the C-suite. In the field it didn’t sell the product. The Curse of Knowledge strikes again: I was, and continue to be, a member of the uninformed, yet the new owner of a competitor’s coffee maker.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.