I heard a great story from a friend the other day.
As a young child aged 7, a friend’s mother (who worked for a famous crisp manufacturer) asked her to participate in some market research.
Adult: So tell me, what’s your favourite crisp?
7yo: (excitedly) Monster Munch!
Adult: OK that’s a corn-based snack, not a crisp – what’s your favourite crisp?
7yo: (considers briefly) Skips!
Adult: That’s not a crisp either – that’s a corn-based snack – what’s your favourite crisp?
7yo: (desperately wanting to give the right answer) Frazzles!
Adult: That’s… (you get the idea)
What does this tell us?
Just because you’re a crisp manufacturer (a crisp, by definition, apparently has to be a deep-fried slice of potato) you can’t expect the world to share your definition. As my friend said, in her house (and I suspect in 99% of homes) all bags of snacks were called “crisps”. And insisting otherwise is largely futile!
You have to understand your customers – remember pester power, if your kids want Monster Munch (other extruded corn-based snacks are available) for their “crisp” treats then by and large that’s what you’ll buy, whether or not they fit the manufacturer’s definition!
Understanding exactly who your customer is is vital. So who is the customer here – is it the 7 year old or her carer (whoever does the shopping!) Is it the end consumer or the person with the purse. This might also be an issue if you are B2B – you might be targeting a particular person or group of people to resolve an issue – but they are not the budget holders! This is one I will be honest I am not sure I have the complete answer to – your content marketing messaging obviously has to attract the people with the pain, and you will have to find other ways to work on the person authorising the spend. If you can get in front of them that’s a start – and then you can nurture them too if you get their permission for email marketing. I have a client who has this exact problem – the people in her prospects’ businesses know they need her offering – but she then has to set about persuading the budget holders – and so they are going to send out educational videos during what I have called the “tumbleweed phase”.
The customer avatar work we are doing in my 90 day online course is working hard on this – on getting to grips with exactly WHO your customer is, what motivates them, what feelings they have about your products. Insisting that YOU are right as the supplier will not endear your customers to you – and your marketing will fail!
So – take the time to understand your customer and why they buy from you! It’s not about YOU! What do your customers think about you and your brand – is it what you think – and have you asked them!?!
Do you “lose” prospects after you have submitted a proposal? Think of ways you can influence prospects during the “tumbleweed” phase.