Sure, it's a self-centered attitude. It also offers a few insights.

WIIFM (What’s in it for me)?

With all of the marketing messages being broadcast every day, people have been trained to ignore anything that does not benefit them. In fact, What’s in it for me? is a phrase that has gotten so popular that it has it’s own acronym.

If you don’t have something that interests me, I’m gone. So get to the point.

Don’t waste my time blathering on and on, adding copy, bullet points and fine print until my eyes glaze over.

Just give me enough to let me decide if there is something there for me.

Then, maybe I’ll keep listening.

Sure, it’s a self-centered attitude. It also offers a few insights into human behavior that you need to understand if you want your marketing to be effective:

Think of WIIFM as shorthand to all marketing.

A quick way to tell if your marketing is going to reach your target audience. If you can’t see a benefit right away, you can be sure your audience won’t either.

Understand that WIIFM isn’t patient.

Is what you are offering slightly complicated? Tough. Hard to use? They don’t want it. The more hoops you place in front of a benefit, the fewer there are who will jump through. Make it simple and fast.

Don’t confuse WIIFM with What’s In It For You.

If you are talking about yourself, you’re not talking about the right person. It’s their benefit, not yours. Use a viewpoint and voice that makes a personal connection with the audience. Same thing goes for any “Message from our CEO”, “60 years of serving Central Podunk” or other “press release” type of marketing. WIIFM doesn’t care and won’t read a word of it.

Don’t assume that WIIFM believes anything you say.

To most of your members and market, the bank down the street seems just as warm and fuzzy as you do, and unfortunately they probably have more branches. So don’t waste your money telling WIIFM that you are friendlier or better — prove it. And make it snappy.

Remember that WIIFM isn’t always about the money.

If you are using Word of Mouth or social networking as part of your marketing mix, you are asking individuals to spend their social capital in order to spread your message — so the benefit needs to make them look good in the eyes of their audience. Help WIIFM look smart.

Kent Dicken

Email this article to a friend or coworker.