I work with companies big and small and one problem remains the same regardless of size, industry or product. How do you get people to buy what you've produced?
If I had a time machine, I'd whisk company Directors, back to the point their business idea first took hold. That lightbulb moment, ‘wouldn't it be great if there was a ... insert fabulous business idea here.’
The next question should be, who would be willing and able (both attributes are needed), to buy this bright new thing, but 9 times out of 10 the concept of a customer is overlooked, in favour of rushing to secure the patent and produce the prototype.
No matter how old your business is, taking time to think like a buyer will have a huge impact on how you market your product and most importantly, how you find people who need it, value it or can at least justify the purchase to themselves (most of us).
Start with a blank piece of paper.
Think about your ideal customer.
Draw a stick figure and give them a name - whatever it takes to remember you are selling to a real person.
Now answer, in as much detail as possible
1. What will your customer be thinking and feeling to show they need your offering?
Let's take the latest technology as an example. None of us really needs wearable tech, but now it's here, we're all trying to find ways to indulge.
- If only I didn't have to carry this bulky smartphone around
- I keep forgetting where I've put it
- Wouldn't it be great to be able to monitor my health levels anytime, anywhere
- Just think of the kudos I'd get to be the first in the office sporting an Apple watch
- I need a new way of accessing the internet
2. What are they doing and saying, which shows they're looking for a solution?
Following the wearables example
- Which smartwatch is best for cyclists/travellers/joggers etc.?
- I'm reading the influencers in this field and using Google to study reviews, video demonstrations
- I'm going to TechWorld next week to draw up a shortlist
3. What do they see and hear about your product when they type it into Google, pick up the newspaper, search Youtube etc?
When was the last time you audited what the world knows about your product? Beyond Google search, you should type your company and product name into the search functions on Twitter, Google+, Slideshare, Vimeo, Youtube and LinkedIn. Additionally, you could check socialmention and socialradar.
By getting into the mind of your customer, you'll quickly see the information they need to help them part with their cash. The more specific you can be, the better.
Your marketing needs to answer your customers' questions. Show that you understand their problems and give them a glimpse of a happier future all because they spend their money on your brand.
Answering the big three questions above, gives you a framework for your marketing and will help you focus your efforts on content which delivers value in your customers terms.
Going back to basics is a great antidote to producing bland marketing content. After all, the customers perception is your reality.