Sometimes it's what you don't know that counts
iVillage Gets a Facelift

What Are You Leaving Out?

by Guest Blogger, Lena West, Chief of Social Media Strategy at xynoMedia

Recently, due to a power outage in my area, I had to do laundry at a public laundry. (Yes, gasp. Public. And, if you've never done this, you should try it some time; the people watching is phenomenal!)

Now, I've told you before that I'm just plain ol' nosey and so I made it my business to pay attention to noticed the laundry that other people were doing -- not in a pervy way, but in a decidedly nosey way. Turns out people were washing the basics: jeans, towels, t-shirts and the like.

For some reason, my attention was drawn to this young woman who clearly was doing the "week's wash". Now, I can't say for certain that it was *her* laundry or that she wasn't paid to wash someone else's clothes, but here's what I do know. There was something missing. 

Something that most people tend to wash weekly. Something that if you're not washing them weekly, in my opinion, your cleanliness levels are suspect. That something was bed sheets.

Now, there are all kinds of scenarios that could explain this - maybe this was her second trip to the wash that week. Maybe she gets her sheets laundered and pressed by some outside service. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

But, all I kept thinking was, "Wow, no sheets?" (Judgment, I know. I need to work on that.) I mean nary a pillowcase or a sham; and certainly no fitted or flat sheets of any kind.

Immediately, my mind questioned how clean her house must be. I mean, there are certain people whom I know who do a GREAT job of keeping their *person* clean, but their homes look like the living room on Sanford and Son.

I spent all this time wondering, "Why no sheets? Is her house a mess? Maybe she doesn't sleep on sheets!" (There are people who do that. Yuk.)

But, you know what I didn't stop to think? The woman can't have *that* much of a pigstye at home if she's willing to take the energy to pack her laundry in a bag, put it in a cart/carry it to her car, drive to the laundry, get soap and quarters, sort the clothes and then wash and fold. My mind didn't go there until much, much later.

So, the parallel I want to draw here comes in the form of a few questions:

  • What are you leaving out of your marketing that's making people in your target market look at you sideways?
  • Is there something that you know you need to get done that would help make the picture complete?
  • Is there something missing that makes your potential clients "go down the garden path" in their mind about how you conduct business and/or how you would (or wouldn't) treat them?
  • If you don't know or aren't sure, do you have the courage to ask?

I've thought about this myself and I've come up with a few things of my own. When *you* think about *your* situation, what comes up for you?


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Yes, you definitely know more about what was going on in my head than most. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting, Miller!

Cheryl Miller

What fun to get inside your head. Since I know you so well it was even funnier. I'm going straight home to wash some sheets!



Great! I'm so glad I'm not alone in the "people watching/inventing scenarios" thing. :)

I have found that the best advice we're given are not things we want to hear initially.

It's the thumps on the head that help us grow.

Thanks for reading and commenting!


I'm a huge people watcher myself, and I could totally see myself making up a story about the woman with no bed sheets. Recently, a well-intentioned, highly experienced business woman gave me some advice to improve my business. I'm not going to reveal it, but tt was not something I wanted to hear. Later, I thought about it and realized how right she was. I took her advice and put it to work in my own way.

The moral of story: Listen to advice and use it the best way you see fit.

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