In my career I’ve found that most marketers spend massive amounts of time and money on the tools of marketing – painstakingly analyzing the results of an “a/b” test, combing through email response rates, and looking for ways to get another tenth of a percent in conversion, yet most of us gloss over the most effective way to improve marketing performance – understanding the customer.
If you pause for a minute and think the marketing messages that work on you, what’s the one common denominator they all have? I think if you start watching the marketing that breaks through to you, you’ll find that they all have a message that captures your imagination and connects with you in an intimate way.
For example, an email talking to a small business owner that says “Now you can do all company’s your medical insurance tasks in one place,” might be interesting, but the same email that says “Never lose sleep again over picking the right medical insurance for your employees” will likely get a much higher open rate just because it connects with the personal problem the business owner is trying to accomplish.
All purchase decisions are at least partly emotional and personal, yet so often marketers describe their customers in broad demographic terms. They say their target market is “Millennials” or “Residential contractors.” This isn’t incorrect, but it’s lazy and inefficient.
Why? Well, to start with, there are 80 million Millennials in the US. Assuming that you can target 80 million people with the same broad message is naïve. An 28-year-old in Dallas who’s married, religious, owns a home and has two children isn’t likely to respond to the same message as a 28-year-old in Brooklyn who lives in a two-bedroom apartment with three roommates and is focused on going out. These just aren’t the same two people.
So how can you tell if you understand your customer? Here’s five questions that will help you check:
The biggest thing to always keep in mind is that a human being is making the decision to buy your product. It may be a low-risk purchase (like a soft drink) or a high-risk purchase (like a SaaS offering). Either way, his/her decision to buy is both rational (does this product make sense?) and emotional (what will this purchase mean in my career and life?). Knowing the answers to those questions will help make your marketing work harder and more efficiently.