Think Like a Customer

Whatever business you’re in, it’s all too easy (surprisingly!) to forget about your customers. It may sound strange, but a lot of businesses do, a lot of agencies do it. It’s because the business, or agency believes they know better. It will often happen when the business has been going for a while and been reasonably successful that whatever they do must be right. But of course they know there business and products better than their customers, but do they know what their customers want.

Talk to Your Customer

People are scared of surveys, whether online or on the street, they’re scary because the truth can hurt. It’s never pleasant to hear a criticism of your product or service or company, or website. Trust me! I’ve had a few in my time. Often it comes down to opinion especially when it comes to design, and everyone’s an expert when it comes to marketing. But surveys are so important for creating a better company – a better brand. This doesn’t mean you need to hire an expensive research company (and you won’t find a cheap one!), you can do the survey yourself, you can set up a simple online form for your current customers to fill out. Make sure you have a prize though; people’s time is precious and they quite literally won’t give you the time of day if you’re not offering something in return. Make it decent though – like an iPad Air, or the next latest Apple product whatever that maybe. You may not want to outlay the cost, but the return you get from you responses will be far more valuable. The truth hurts but it means you’ll be half way to getting it right.

Thinking like a customer is difficult. You know your products/website intimately so unless you have someway of forgetting, you won’t realistically be able to truly assess your product from your customer’s point of view. Ask a friend! But a friend who is actually interested in whatever you may be selling, otherwise the opinion, may not really be worth it. If you have a few trusted clients, ask them. They will probably be quite flattered you asked them and could improve the relationship.

When it comes to marketing your product, then this is when you really need to know how your customers think. If you get it wrong, you will end up disconnecting from them and they will disengage from you altogether. You have to ask yourself, what will my customer understand from this material.

Example

I recently did some work on a brochure which was advertising quite a robust, technical product, but to a domestic market. The sort of people who would hopefully be buying this product would have money to spend, but in doing so would eventually save money. The product was very well made, but it wasn’t ‘pretty’. The client wanted to wow the potential customer with lots of technical wizardry, with figures and graphs, ph scales etc. I asked the client – ‘what will the customer benefit from buying this product?’ He replied saying they would have cleaner thingamajigs, and better performing whatnots and it would save them this many coconuts over 10 years. So I replied telling the client that this what he should say in the brochure. Tell your customer how the product is going to improve their life. I’m not saying that all this technical information is unimportant, because it’s not, but there’s no point bombarding the customer with that until the customer thinks he wants your product. Try not to loose sight of why you produced the product in the first place.

It comes down to a very simple question and answer:

Customer: Why should I buy this?
Vender: Because it will make your life better.

If you can understand your customer, then selling them what they want should be easy