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Think like a customer, not like a marketer

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The gap between a product and an individual is further than you think. Getting mixed up in day-to-day business activities can cause anyone to fall out of touch with the individual mindsets of target customers. Depending on the product, you might want to try detaching yourself from your daily grind for a while and try to act as if YOU are your ideal target customer and write down answers to the following questions:

  • What would you be doing before wanting [product]?
  • Why do you initially want [product]?
  • What are your emotional feelings when you first decide you want [product]?
  • What if you couldn’t get [product] quickly enough? Then what are your emotions?
  • What are your emotional feelings when you are making the transaction to buy [product]?
  • Now that you have [product], how do you feel?
  • How would your friends and colleagues feel that you have [product] and they don’t?
  • How would you feel if your friends and colleagues have [product] and you don’t?

As you can see by now, I’m talking about emotional behaviour and reactions that your target customer feels surrounding a purchase of your product. Even though you know your product really well, you are not the best person to be providing these answers. If you can have these questions answered by existing customers who are not affiliated with you or your business (other than being a customer), you will get a better and truer result. Emotions are the major driving forces behind most decisions to purchase a product. Starting by answering the questions above, you can use the answers to inspire your advertising messages to connect with your target customers in a much deeper, more engaging way. Think about how your product affects your customer’s lives individually. You can define target markets but the people within a defined group could be so extremely different to each other that they might only have the one commonality that makes them part of that group. This does make it hard to choose your marketing methods and messages and why you need to think more about the individual. The usual market segmentations of geographic and demographic are a good place to start, but it’s probing into the psychographic area where people tend to get a bit out of touch. The psychographic section of the marketing plan commonly ends up being ignored or not given enough attention. I believe the psychographic section of the marketing plan is the most important part because it enables you to group individuals, giving you a better target for crafting your message. The rate at which people are changing their daily lives these days – their opinions, beliefs and routines to match new technology and the constantly increasing masses of information on the internet – it is very hard to follow people with your product offerings. So what is one thing that will always stay the same and is the quickest, most effective and direct method to an individual’s purchasing decisions? Emotions. Other topics that are sometimes left out of marketing planning are:

  • Defining your niche
  • What makes your offerings different to your competitors’?
  • Why should people choose you over your competitor?

Without going into depth on these questions, I’ll say that they must be clearly defined and portrayed in your marketing communications.

Paul Groth is a marketing strategist, entrepreneur and founder of www.marketingmixer.com.au

Photo: riot jane (Flickr)

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