Why We Talk about Ourselves

By Alan Rosenspan of alanrosenspan.com*

A recent study at Harvard University revealed a startling fact – people like to talk about themselves. Shocking, isn’t it?

Not just at parties. Some surveys report that over 80% of all dialogue on Facebook and other social media sites is just that. People broadcasting “all me, all the time.”

But this study went a bit further; it tried to find out why. The conclusion was hardly earth-shattering. “Researchers found evidence that revealing even relatively mundane facts about oneself seems to trigger the brain circuits that respond to rewards such as food and money.”

In fact, people sometimes like to talk about themselves even more than they like food or money. In one experiment, “participants were willing to accept a loss of 17% of potential earnings to answer questions about themselves.”

No wonder Twitter is so popular!

What does this have to do with marketing?

Direct marketers often make the same mistake – they talk about themselves, even though it would be far more effective (and rewarding) to talk about their prospects and customers. It’s so tempting to write about what your product or service can do, and how you developed it, and about your wonderful company, than it is to focus on what’s really important to your audience.

*Originally posted on improveresponse.blogspot.com on May 9, 2012 and reprinted here with Alan Rosenspan’s permission

alanAlan Rosenspan is the president of Alan Rosenspan & Associates, a direct marketing creative and consulting firm. His direct marketing credentials are impressive and include developing the Creative Strategy course for the Direct Marketing Association and writing hundreds of articles for direct marketing publications around the world.

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