October 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Blog
Know What Your Customers Truly Value
Success in business is all about focusing on the customers, right? We hear it all the time – “we value our customers.” “Customer service is our top priority.” So why do so many companies fail to pay attention to their customers’ wishes, goals and concerns when they’re doing their marketing?
After all, “customer focus” is not important only after you’ve earned a customer’s business. It should be present in every communication your company sends out. Your business’s brand and sales efforts and online presence all need to be focused on what your customers really want from you – and this is not necessarily the same as what the company thinks is important.
Businesses often get the wrong idea about what marketing messages are truly important to their customers – either they don’t know, or they don’t know how to find out. Other businesses base their entire marketing campaign on speculation, gut instincts and past experience – they assume that they know what their customers want.
This is often a big mistake. You cannot afford to make assumptions about your customers’ preferences.
Sometimes the message that the company feels is important is not actually the message that resonates with customers. If your grocery store spends thousands of dollars advertising its fresh produce, but your customers are skipping fruits and veggies in favor of pre-packaged meals, then that is a disconnect.
If a manufacturing company bases its marketing campaign around a message of “safety and reliability” while its customers actually consider the company’s products to be “fresh and innovative,” that campaign is not going to be as successful as it should be.
It doesn’t matter if the message is accurate or not – it’s possible for a marketing message to be totally accurate and truthful, and still fail to bring results just because it’s not what customers believe. Often it is difficult for customers to remember more than one key point about a company or a brand –so it is important that you get your message right. You need to ask them “What do you value most from our business?”
It seems easy, but the challenge is that sometimes customers are not totally honest in sharing their preferences or giving honest feedback. This happens sometimes even with good, loyal customers – if customers have a bad experience, or if a sales message doesn’t really resonate with them, then they might hesitate to give honest feedback out of fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Instead, they might quietly take their business elsewhere.
The Number One Way to Find Out What Customers Value Most
The best way to find out what your customers truly care about is double blind market research. This involves a random survey of customers conducted by an outside research firm – neither the research firm nor the customers are told the name of the company who ordered the survey.
This avoids any bias – positive or negative – from the customers being surveyed, and it’s a great way to elicit natural, honest, open feedback to give companies a fuller picture of the overall marketplace and their customers’ true needs and interests.
If you don’t know what your customers truly value about your brand and your product, you might as well be speaking a different language.