Let’s start with a story. Once, a developer, let’s call her Jenny, had been tasked with rolling out a software update to a group of users. Jenny did all the hard work that developers do for these types of projects. She sure that the update would work with the old system, that the update matched the features from the users, and that the program was rolled out without any downtime. Following up a few months later, Jenny found out that many of the users were no longer using the program. She verified that she had given the users what they wanted in a program, but found that they could not use it because they did not have the latest version of the operating system that was needed to support her program. She had failed to understand the ecosystem in which she was developing the program.
Trust is a big deal.
No matter where we go or what we do, we are being marketed to. The websites we visit, the television shows we watch, the freeways we drive down, and the podcasts we listen to, are all trying to market to us. We see ads everywhere at every turn.
And because of this, we’ve become desensitized to marketing messages. In fact, as an audience, we are super skeptical of anything that feels even a little bit like marketing. We don’t trust the people talking to us to tell us something useful, or helpful, or engaging. We just expect them to yell at us about their product or cause. We’ve stopped trusting, and so we’ve stopped listening.
As marketers, what can we do about this?
We have work to do. We need a new way to connect to people, a new way to gain their trust. It’s our job to build trust with people again – to connect with them with honesty, transparency, and focus.
I’ve become a huge proponent of blogging as way for organizations – commercial and non-commercial – to build trust, genuinely connect to their users, and create advocates for their cause. There are three principles I think are really important, and really powerful, when blogging this way.
Did you ever have a project not go as expected? Or just outright fail? I have. More than an few times. And while everyone of those failures hurt, being able to learn and grow from the experience has still been helpful in my journey as a developer. “How did we get this wrong?” That is the question programmers often ask after they get feedback on a development project that didn’t meet expectations. And usually the most common answer is they didn’t meet the needs of all of the users. I find that what a lot of young developers miss is that they spent too much time focusing on the needs of the stakeholders involved in development project. The job isn’t to just satisfy those who are the project stakeholders.