Customers buy for their reasons, not yours.
No matter what your product is, ultimately your company is in the education business. Your customers need to be continuously educated about the advantages of doing business with you and taught how to make ongoing improvement in their lives.
I am often asked what the best marketing vehicle for a business is to consider. When I clarify that marketing is more of a process rather than a single tactic or an event, people can become confused or frustrated.
So, to best explain the art of marketing, I adopted Peter Drucker’s definition of really knowing your market: “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits them perfectly and sells itself.”
While Drucker’s definition (normally) speaks for itself, I sometimes need to elaborate. When that instance occurs, I share Philip Kotler’s key ingredient to satisfying customers:
“Authentic marketing is not the art of selling what you make but knowing what to make.”
Simply stated, marketing is the art of identifying and understanding consumer needs and creating solutions that deliver satisfaction to the customers, profits to the producers and benefits for the stakeholders.
Understanding this principle will establish (or re-establish) marketplace presence and create a sustainable competitive advantage for your business. The competitive advantage develops as your business builds and enhances through a clear understanding of your customers’ wants and needs. Sustainability occurs through your continuous understanding of what makes your business competitive to survive and prosper.
The key element in your thinking should be to make a difference to your customer. To achieve this, you must create a system that listens to and gathers information directly from end-users. This can be initiated by gathering marketplace perception and sentiment data from the marketplace towards your products and services. As a practical course of action, businesses should listen to what customers are saying about what they really value. Furthermore, they should distinguish what motivates customers to buy their products or services versus the competition.
Listening to customers holds a value that is fully measurable and can provide immediate direction on how a company can advance operationally and competitively.
Actively listening to the needs of customers isn’t optional – it is mandatory if your objective is to improve the customer experience and your company’s marketplace presence.
When listening goes beyond anecdotes and becomes a qualitative and quantitative endeavor for a business, then the company is on the path to having the ability to meet and exceed their customers expectations.
How do you listen to your customers?