You may have come up with the best marketing push in the world but if you haven’t taken the time to discover how your customer is going to react then you could be simply wasting your time. Are your customers switched on? Are they interested in what you have to offer, however nicely you package it?
In short, are they taking a blind bit of notice? Or are they passing by without an inkling of how you could make their life better?
Go for a ten minute drive in any city centre and the chances are you’ll pass around 300 attempts to advertise to you. From special promotions in shop windows, bus stop posters, billboards, signs, and digital ticker tapes, not to mention your friendly local citizens wearing branded t-shirts or carrying bags for life. The truth is that you will probably ignore 99% of these wonderful attempts to beguile and woo you as you wander along listening to your favourite song.
The reason? Most of those advertising soundbites are not relevant to you at that particular moment in time. You may well be interested in a two for one deal at the local deli later in the day when you are hungry. You might even want to buy a new car when your present one gasps its last breath. And you might want to join that local health club when the New Year comes round and you decide to get into shape, again. A persistently leaking tap at home will make you notice plumbers vans whilst on your morning commute but if you lack a plumbing emergency these advertising campaigns have no meaning for you as an individual. Most marketing advances are designed to tell customers what the brand owners want them to hear. It’s symptomatic of many businesses that they singularly fail, in fact, to understand that you need to tell your customer what they want to hear.
Stop telling your customers what you want them to hear
Start telling them what they want to hear!
And to get to grips with this, you need to stand in your customer’s shoes, particularly if you want to run an effective marketing campaign.
You might think that your customer cares about the same things as you, and perhaps they do. But opting for that kind of strategy can stop you thinking about what really matters to your customer. Let’s take some simple examples:
- You think your USP is the comfortable driver’s seat and digital music system in your new range of cars. What your customer really wants is to cut down the amount they spend on fuel each week.
- You just love the new sleek design of your mobile phone range. What your customer really wants is a reliable coverage and a connection that doesn’t suddenly disappear when they need it most.
- You might think that your new flea treatment for cats is the most effective on the market. What your customer actually would prefer is a treatment they can administer easily without pussy scratching their arm to pieces.
Are You Telling Your Customers What they Want To Hear? Or what you want them to hear?
It’s the most important part of any marketing campaign: to get to know what your customer actually wants and provide it for them. For the big players such as Amazon, this involves using complex algorithms that track what customers buy on their site, using it, through long standing research, to offer similar products. For SMEs who don’t have the kind of budgets that come with big business, it’s a question of finding out more about their customers.
And that means asking the right questions in the first place.
You can, of course, use your intuition and if you have it in bucket loads and have a real feel for what your customer actually wants. Even a little will help you make a more valued decision though it can often be a false friend. Another option is to collect data through market research, that can reveal all sorts of wonderful information about your average customer’s buying behaviour and even their underlying wants and needs. You can use your customer services section to find out about what your most valued asset likes about your product (or dislikes) and you can even run focus groups and gather usable data that way.
Whichever path you choose it’s all about finding out what your customer really wants to hear. Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes can help develop a more meaningful, and hopefully more successful, marketing campaign.