Do You Think Like Your Customer?


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I was listening to a marketing webinar as I sipped my first cup of coffee yesterday morning. The topic was on social networking and how to use it to promote product launches, events or company successes.

I logged out because I couldn’t take it anymore. And I didn’t want to start a public argument with the presenter. Especially since I have less patience before my 2nd cup. So I just exited stage left.


Because social networking is a powerful marketing tool. Just like PR, Webinars, seminars and all the other arrows we have in our marketing quiver. But it can’t be approached with the same chest-thumping marketing we’ve grown accustomed to using.

No marketing tool is effective if you can’t talk and think like your customers. Social networking is even less effective – and potentially more damaging – when you don’t communicate. Creating a large social web can hurt your business more than help it if you can’t speak to your customers and prospects in their own language – and about things that are important to them. Social webs and media give you the chance to reach more people – and turn them away even more quickly with the wrong messages. To be effect in social networking, you have to be honest, open and most importantly, speak the language of your customers. If you don’t, they’ll move on – just like I did with that webinar.

I’m passionate about the “So What?’ approach to marketing, passionate about the customer and the value they derive from my clients’ solutions.

As far as I’m concerned the technobabble approach should go the way of the woolly mammoth.

How do you think and speak like a customer? It’s not that hard. Spend time with them, get out of the building and go learn about your customers. Become a subject matter expert on them.

But that’s what sales does, right?

Wrong. Sales is your customer. Their job is to power revenue, not support marketing.

So stop being dependent on sales for your marketing inputs – and get to know your customers yourself. What do you want to know? Well, start with things like:

  • What do they do for a living? How do they make money and how does your solution help them do that?

  • What’s going on in their market? What are their current challenges? What help do they need to address them? How can your solution empower their efforts?

  • What are the things that make them frantic at the office (aside from meetings, meetings and more meetings). What are the top three things that would help them reduce their stress?

  • Why did they buy your solution? What’s the business reason. What were they hoping to accomplish and did they do it? If not, why not? And if so – how did your solution help. If not – why didn’t it help them, and how can you fix it?

  • What are the things they like best about your company and its solutions?

  • What are the things they like the least? And you’d better be ready to follow up on this one. If they’ll share this with you, they just gave you the keys to the kingdom of ongoing success, don’t blow it.

One other thing to note. Make sure you’re speaking with all the right people in your customers, not just the tactical buyers. Talk to the people who control the dollars. Ask them the above questions and learn how your solutions help them in their front line business operations.

Finally, and most importantly –

Pay attention to the words customers use to describe their business.

That’s the language you want to learn – and use.

Photo courtesy of cote.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Rebel Brown
Rebel Brown consistently challenges the status quo to deliver optimum solutions and high velocity growth for her clients. She combines the strategic expertise and tactical savvy of a global Corporate Strategy, Launch and Turnaround Expert, along with the leadership and motivational skills needed to get the job done.


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