Never trust and assumption
I conceived the ad below for the research group Ipsos.
It’s a simple message:
What you think is important and what your customers think is important may be worlds apart.
Or more pertinently:
What you think they think is important and what they really think is important may be worlds apart.
Matching messages with the customer
Whenever somebody forms an opinion they do so from a raft of variables such as their age, where they live, their income, and what phase of the ‘life-cycle’ they’re in.
Too often businesses are guilty of failing to properly calibrate their key messages to their customers.
Besides a plain lack of information, at the core of this misunderstanding is the notion of ‘self-interest.’
Whenever a business’ key messages stray from the self-interest of their customers, they are no longer being heard. It seems so simple and logical, but it’s one of the constantly repeated mistakes I’ve witnessed first hand over the last twenty years. The hard part is ruthlessly filtering and selecting messages that appeal to the self-interest of your customer. Every piece of communication should be run through this filter. No ifs, no buts. Find out what your customer wants – both materially and aspirationally – and don’t stray from it.
Where does the brand fit in?
There’s a lot of talk about ‘brand loyalty’ and how people align themselves with certain brands over time. But to be quite brutal about it, don’t for one minute assume that brand loyalty ever trumps a customer’s self-interest.
Steps to take
Professionally researching your customers, though invaluable, can be an expensive process. There are some things, however, that you can do relatively inexpensively. For example, have you ever tried to plot a customer milestone map? It’s a simple, but vital exercise that can confirm assumptions, tip some upside down, and even uncover some surprises.
At the core of this simple but important exercise is methodically listing every interaction a customer has with your business, what their expectations are at each these of touchstones and looking at how you can exceed these expectations at each and every step. No matter how fleeting or straightforward the interaction may seem.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how a customer milestone map can help your business cultivate stronger customer relationships and feed into your business’ culture and branding, just tap here.