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Why marketing communications need to get inside the customer’s mind

Explosion of colours and concepts within a customers head

When is the last time you created any marketing communications for your business? It may have been a website, landing page, e-shot, social media post or a promotional campaign. The chances are it will have been in the last week or so. Now have a think about how you settled on the final design and copy.

Did you end up going for a look, style and content that appealed to you? The chances are that you did, because it is human nature to gravitate to what appeals to us.

Now think about your target audience. If you are approaching marketing in a strategic manner to maximise returns, you will already have a picture in mind of what your perfect customer profile looks like. Do they look like you? 95% of the time they won’t. Herein lies the problem.

Flip your thinking

Throughout life we are brainwashed by sayings, that pass down through generations, like “treat others how you would like to be treated yourself”, or something to this effect. Think about this for a moment, this is nonsense. Just because you like to be treated in a certain way doesn’t mean the other person shares that opinion. However, by simply switching the word “you” with the word “they”…i.e. “treat others how they would like to be treated” it then suddenly makes complete sense.

No longer is the focus internal, about how you feel about something. It is all about them. This then guarantees that they will be happy with how you treat them. The same can be said of your marketing communications. Whether you, as the communicator, like the look, feel, message and design of something is actually irrelevant. If your prospective customers engage with your communications and purchase, then that is what matters (as long as it doesn’t contradict your core values).

This is all easy to say, but business owners find this really difficult to do – because they are so passionate about their own business. It is not helped by the fact that we completely ignore this in other areas of our personal life as well.

Classic Marketing Communications Mistake…

How many people do you know (it could be you, your partner, a member of your family or a friend) who has made the classic following error of judgement…

Quite often when a couple are tying the knot they will create a wedding gift list. To them, this is the best way to ensure that they actually Guests Throwing Confetti Over Bride And Groomreceive lots of presents that they want, or they may even ask for money to put towards the honeymoon. It couldn’t be easier, just click on the link and add something off the list into the basket with a message.

However, people still insist on completely ignoring the request of the happy couple and instead on choosing “something personal” that they want to buy. Think about it in a practical sense. How selfish is this? They have taken time to create a list of things they want and need and yet it is completely ignored.

Consider what would happen if you did the same thing to a prospective customer? Do you think they would buy from you? Of course not, they would give their business to someone who actually met their needs and made them feel valued.

Understand your customers

Segmenting customers to attract moreWith this in mind, before you start creating marketing communications you have to stop assuming you know what your clients would want (based on what you like and want) and really get into the mindset of the customer and their world.

You may have a few different groups of customer types, but you need to understand them all and the differences between them. Ask yourself the following questions…

  • What is the demographic profile of this typical customer?
  • Define the typical personality type of this customer?
  • Why do they buy purchase this product or service?
  • What problem or need does my product or service satisfy for them?
  • How will they make a purchasing decision between the options?
  • What level of information would this customer need to make a decision?
  • How much time would this customer need to make a decision?
  • Are there any other products or services that this customer may be interested in?

Now bear in mind that unless the first two points closely describe yourself, then the remaining answers are likely to be radically different. This is why you shouldn’t let personal preferences influence you marketing communications.

Marketing communications application

If a web design company ever asks you what sort of website styles, brands or user journey’s you like, just stop them. It doesn’t matter. Simply explain to them the above points about your audience(s). Any website designer worth their salt should be able to create a site that is effectively designed to take those audiences through to the point of enquiry or sale.

So next time you see an advert on TV and you think to yourself “What was all that about?”, “That didn’t make me want to buy from that brand”, or “what a stupid advert”, just remember it wasn’t designed to appeal to you – you aren’t the ideal target market. They are trying to get into someone else’s head.

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Ian is the founder of Opportunity Marketing marketing, with over 18 years of experience in successfully setting up marketing departments, creating marketing strategies and implementing these strategies across a wide number of SME companies in both the B2B and B2C sectors through a variety of channels.
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