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Passing the Wife Test

The ad guru David Ogilvy once said, “Your customer is not a moron–she’s your wife.”

After writing what was become a rather controversial topic over on the Inbox Group blog (Email Marketing: A Conversation Starter), I decided to pose the question to my wife. For those of you who know my wife, you know that she won’t hold back, particularly in situations where she thinks I’m wrong.

It doesn’t matter whether she agreed with me on the above topic or not (though she did). My point is that sometimes, when you write or say something that gets other people up in arms, you need to run your original thesis through “The Wife Test.” Because after all, if you’re a marketer, you’re not your customer, and you need a good, objective view into what you’re trying to accomplish.

And my wife (I swear, she relishes it) has no problem telling me I’m wrong.

All marketers need someone who can fit the bill of “The Wife Test.” It doesn’t have to be your spouse or significant other. Just someone who’s not invested on either side of an issue and can be honest with you if you’re “full of shit.”

Maybe it’s one of your regular customers. Maybe it’s your father. Maybe it’s the guy you always run into in the lunch room.

As marketers, sometimes we’re overly sensitive about issues and concerns that really don’t matter to our customers. And we can forget ourselves sometimes on either side of those issues, and forget about what’s important: our “wives.”

So ask the straight questions of your “wives.” You’ll find you’ll get a straight answer from the right person.

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