Do you really know and understand your customers? Can you look at the world from their perspective?
Whether you are defining a customer segment or writing your marketing messages, the big challenge is to change your perspective from how your business views the customer to how the customer views the business. If you can make that change, you will realize that customers don’t really care about your product, they care about solving their painful problem or filling an unmet need.
A really good method to get right into the customer’s world is to develop customer archetypes or personas. Give your customers a name and paint a picture of them as they go about their day. What are their habits? How do they solve their problem now? Are they big Facebook users or do they still read the morning paper? How old are they? What is their occupation and income level?
Here is an example of a mattress store customer:
Joe is a 43-year-old accountant. He is married to Francine a school teacher. They have no children. When he is working long hours he needs his sleep. He is careful with his money but values a comfortable night’s sleep. He is not on Facebook and still receives the morning paper delivered to his house. His back is sore from his old bed so he wouldn’t want to have to carry in and set up a new bed himself.
If we understand this customer persona correctly, our marketing message would be focused on a mattress that is good value for the money and includes delivery, set up of the new bed and disposal of the old mattress. We wouldn’t bother using social media channels to reach him, but we could try our marketing in the morning paper.
Understanding the “jobs to be done” concept applies here also. This is the idea that customers will “hire” your product or service to accomplish a particular job they are trying to accomplish. Harvard professor Theodore Levitt explained it perfectly when he stated:
“Customers don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill, they want a quarter inch hole.”
The final suggestion in developing your customer personas is to describe the situation where and when the customer experiences their pain points or unmet needs. Is Joe the accountant up in the night at home surfing the net because he can’t sleep on his old mattress or is he at work in the middle of the afternoon realizing his productivity is poor because he is too tired?
This understanding of where and when they experience the problem helps you design your offering to meet your customers in their world when they are looking to solve their problem.
In summary, the more you really understand your customers the easier it will be to create your marketing messages that speak to your customers in their language.