What You Don’t Know and the Bliss of Ignorance

Can you identify what's in this picture?Can you identify what's in this picture?

Ten years ago, there was an independent movie released called The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. A blend of romantic dark comedy and science fiction, it’s a story about a couple who, when their relationship becomes strained and unbearable, undergo a process to erase each other–and their history–from their respective memories.
By living in a state of false ignorance, the man and woman attempt to part ways and do so in a way that they would presumably erase the pain. However, as the story unfolds, we clearly learn that this is much easier said than done.

While the story addresses several issues related to the human condition, the one that strikes me the most is found in the title, more aptly translated as “The Bliss of Ignorance.” Of course, that’s a nod to the old expression ignorance is bliss. Or perhaps more appropriately, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you.”

And while in some cases that statement may be true, we also know that quite often it is not. Indeed, what you don’t know often can hurt you. As a content marketer, I cannot help but see this as a tremendous opportunity to engage and serve my prospects–even if they don’t want me to.

Let me give a simple, hypothetical example: I drive a standard, late-model four-door sedan. I have personal auto insurance on the car, and for myself as the driver. Even though I do quite a bit of driving for business purposes, it is nevertheless covered under my personal insurance.

Now, let’s say I decide to slap a big magnetic sign on either side that displays my business name, logo, phone number and website. I figure that with all the driving I do I might as well be promoting my business in the area as well.

A few weeks later, I have an accident–and it’s my fault. Photos are taken and are submitted to my insurance carrier as part of my claim.  Shortly after, I get a notice: my claim is DENIED. Completely.

My eyes bug out and my adrenaline begins to rush. I call the service number and learn that–according to my specific carrier’s coverage–the moment I slapped those magnetic signs on the side of my car, I had instantly converted it to a commercial vehicle, requiring commercial insurance (which costs more of course). On those grounds, my car was in fact not covered, even though I was paying my monthly premium.

Ouch! What I didn’t know did hurt me. What’s worse is the real catch: I didn’t know that I didn’t know that.

An expression I have been using a lot lately is you don’t know what you don’t know. Common? Yes, but when was the last time you actually thought it over? As a content marketer and one committed to the consultative sales approach, it is, in my opinion, an opportunity to do a lot of good.

Continuing with my simple example: let’s say a week or so after I place my magnetic signs on my car, I come across a blog article called “Six Ways You May Be Voiding Your Auto Insurance Without Knowing It.” It’s written by a local agent, and upon reading it, I quickly discover my error and that I could be at risk! I remove the signs, and a disaster has been avoided.

And since I bought my prior coverage online, I call this local agent who posted the article. Not long after, I go from being a prospect to being a client.

That knowledge gap–that blissful ignorance–is our opportunity to help others and advance our business at the same time. In its simplicity, that’s the mission.

And if it means blocking some of your “eternal sunshine” with some clouds, so be it. Ironically, it will likely help you see just a bit more clearly.

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