How Much Do You Really Know About Your Customer and Why They Buy from You?
Thank goodness for all of the small business owners who are helping fuel the Canadian economy. These heroes start with a vision. An entrepreneur somewhere wants to fix a problem or offer a solution and the journey begins. Â Over time, this journey hits the usual speed bumps:
- Selling the vision of the product or service
- Finding Customers
- Growing the business
- Keeping customers
The typical early stage company relies on sales wins to build their customer base. As the business lifecycle evolves, the marketplace provides feedback about the product or service and the business grows.
Then a strange thing happen!
A gap starts to develop between what a company thinks it does and what a customer perceives the value to be of the product or service. We call this the Marketing Void. The marketing void occurs because many companies fail to understand why and how their customers buy from them. In turn, they push out marketing tactics that donâ€™t deliver measurable business results because the marketing tactics are not aligned with the buying process of the customer. When you really understand how and why your customer buys from you, you the close the gap between what you do and what your customers believe your value to be.
Marketing programs fail because potential customers are confused about why they should buy from you. This happens because we spend too much time talking about what we do and no enough time explaining in our marketing content and tactics about how we help solve problems.
To fix this, we need to walk through and document, step-by-step, what a prospective customer is thinking and doing when they seek a solution to a problem. In order to do this, we first need to identify our ideal customer and map their buying process.
An ongoing customer scorecard is a great way to track your customers over time. It can be as simple as the customer scorecard in the book, or more complicated with additional metrics you deem appropriate to your business. The idea being that you can start to draw similarities between your best customers, the problems they are trying to fix and can you use this information to create content and tactics to attract more good customers like them.
But the fundamental questions a business should be asking themselves every day is this:
- Why do customers buy from us versus our competitors?
- How do they buy our product or service?
The answers to both of these questions create the foundation for marketing programs that deliver measurable business results. Knowing the steps that a customer is taking to make a decision to buy a product or service like yours is the cornerstone of your marketing success.
Many companies struggle with these questions because they confuse Buying with Selling. To truly understand your customer, you must look at the buying process which is about them. Your selling process is about you. To do this properly, a business needs to focus on the customer.
Here are three important steps to help you document the buying process:
- Remove the assumptions. Donâ€™t assume you know why a customer initiated their search â€“ ask them (and ask them what they searched on in Google).
- Remove the product bias. Donâ€™t map the process based on what your product or service does. Map it based on the problem you are solving.
- Forget about competitors. Think instead of alternatives. How else could a potential customer solve this problem and how does my product or service address that? By thinking through alternatives, you will be better positioned to describe your ultimate value.
Intimate customer understanding is what separates a good marketing program from one that delivers minimal business results.