Sometimes, the most valuable things cannot be measured. Gone are the days of a brand’s marketing strategy being only about the metrics and products or services. Marketing can be an impossible game to play as it’s based on assumptions. As our CEO Dan Carbone once put it, “It’s really just guessing and testing”. However, the secret to success here can be simplified; Think Like Your Customer.
Many businesses know that this is easier said than done, but once you have it down, everything falls into place. Many companies put a lot of resources into finding out their target market, the ideal customer. Some companies, don’t put a focus on determining their buyer personas at all. Whether you have or have not pinpointed who your true audience is, understand that knowing who they are and how they behave is half of the battle. You have to put resources & diligent effort into understanding who the people are that you will truly help with your business.
Once you know who your buyers are, the rest flows naturally, but how do you predict what your customer will search for? What is their primary motivation for clicking the “Buy” button? Why are they looking for your product in the first place? Determining how your customer thinks sounds difficult, but doesn’t have to be. These are the types of questions you need to ask, questions that lead you to learn your buyers’ behavior.
If you are able to learn about your buyers’ behavior, you’ll be able to understand their real pains and needs that you alleviate and satisfy.
Here are our top 3 ways to learn how to think like your customer.
In the new era of social media, consumers expect businesses of all sizes and walks of life to directly engage with them. Whether it be on social media, via email, a phone call, a video message, or a survey. Consumers expect replies and online they expect them in real-time for any comments, questions, or concerns they leave on a brand’s page. Even more than that, they’re more likely to buy from the companies who engage with them first. If you aren’t out there online trying to talk to your consumers & followers, then you’re going to be falling behind if you haven’t already.
Many businesses still act like they can ignore their customer’s comments/messages on social media or that social doesn’t have the metrics to back up its value. The reality is that the brands that engage with their audience the most are the brands who get the sale. Don’t believe us? Check out Forbes top 50 most engaged companies and tell us how you feel about the successful brand names you see (this article even offers a quiz to see if you are a “Customer Engagement Leader”).
Engagement also helps you understand what your customer is thinking and looking for so that you can better tailor your future products and marketing around them. The only thing better than selling a customer on your product or service is using the knowledge you gain from them to create a better product or service.
Your brand cannot expect sales from boasting your products online with photos and technical language. It isn’t the way it’s done anymore and in fact, doing this can actually hurt your sales. Consumers are getting incredibly smart, smarter than you think, and they can sense when a brand simply isn’t trying to connect with them. Leading with value is one of the best ways to market your brand because the goal is to give them an experience that extends beyond your products and services.
Education in your industry and teaching your consumers about more than just your products, features, and awards is one of the top ways you can add value to your customer’s life. For example, if you sell pens, your customers want more than just the features of your pens. They want to learn different hand lettering techniques, how to organize their pen collections or the best papers to use with different pens. You can tell them how to do those things through articles you post online. This is how tons of successful companies are structuring their content strategy, education through blogging, and it will prove an even more effective and widely-used strategy as we move into 2018.
Storytelling has been getting a lot of attention as well and will be a hot topic in 2018. It’s all about relating, connecting, influencing, educating, and providing true value to the end user. The #1 way to connect with your audience is through the success stories of others that you have helped. It works because it is lead to value, the value you created for the protagonist of the story, a customer that had their problem solved by you.
A brand’s unique value proposition shouldn’t be about the products or services they offer. Your value proposition must solve the immediate problems of your customers, and your offerings are merely a solution to their problems. This problem-solution approach is the linchpin in marketing and it’s easy to find out what the pain points of your target audience are by simply noticing what they share on social media, what their complaints are and what they are posting about online.
You may think you can learn what a buyer’s main problems are through online tools like Google Trends or by taking a look at hard data to find out the types of interests your consumers have or what motivates them to make a purchase. These approaches aren’t inherently bad, but they are a huge waste of time if your goal is identifying your buyer and understanding their behavior. Results from this type of approach will either give you false positives or only help you gain inches (rather than miles) and it should be used to supplement your marketing tactics rather than drive them.
Consumers will pay you if they are confident that your brand can help them. But it’s the brand’s job to construct their entire business from the top-down to position themselves as the solution to their target market's problems using website design, email marketing, ad copy, social media and more. Above all, it’s about using those platforms to interact, engage, and learn from your audience.
To help you create a well-rounded, value-driven approach to reaching your target consumer through our proven Discovery Process, contact us today for a consultation.