I think a lot about feedback.

A huge part of my job is giving and receiving feedback on marketing materials, especially since starting Hampson Nattan Williams and moving to our Triple Strength Copywriting model.

I think a lot about feedback. Why a certain piece of copy works. Why it meets a brief, why it delivers a return on investment, why it strikes the right tone, and why it convinces and compels a reader.

Or why it doesn’t.

And when I was talking to Glenn Fisher for his All Good Copy Podcast, he had me thinking about my influences as a writer.

It all comes down to feedback. The people who comment on your work influence it.

And I like to think the once piece of copywriting feedback that influenced me more than any other didn’t come from Ben, or from Martin, or even from any of the copywriters I’ve worked with.

It came from a client.

If you looked at marketing personas for this client and his audience, there’d be very little overlap.

Him. Male, 55-65, home-owner, adult children, Times reader, Audi driver.

Them. Female. 18-25, renting or living with parents, no kids, Buzzfeed readers, public transport users.

I sent him a first draft of a piece of content I’d written for him. It sounded nothing like he sounded. It didn’t touch on any of the problems he faced. It didn’t appeal to his concerns or his aspirations.

He hated it.

He told me he hated it.

Andrew,” he said. “I hate this.”

I started to dig my heels in, ready to start an argument. But he continued.

But my target audience will love it. It’s informal, it’s quirky, and it speaks to them. I’ve always had trouble connecting with them, but this will do the trick.”

It did do the trick.

We worked together a few more years before he retired a happy, wealthy man.

When we review a piece for a Hampson Nattan Williams client, we never ask whether or not we like it. Unless it’s a piece aimed at the kind of men who run advertising agencies.

Instead, we ask if it works.

If it will speak to the target audience.

If these words will win business.

So how do you judge a piece of copy for your business?

I like it?

It sounds like me?

It says what I want it to say?

Or

That’ll really speak to my customers, regardless of how I feel about it.

If you’re ready to judge copy based on what your customers need instead of what you like, we’d like to hear from you.