What Does Your Ideal Customer Want in 2019?
I like to do a ton of research to figure out what customers want and to understand their behavior. Then check to see what other companies are already doing. Look for a market gap that you can fill or a way to differentiate.
Then focus on finding the sweet spot; that place where you can provide unique value for customers and grow your business.
Becoming a digital-first brand begins with finding your company’s sweet spot. The sweet spot is that place where a company has found a way to communicate with customers that is both engaging and still propels company interests forward.
Customer-first marketing, then, starts with brands understanding the marketplace, their potential customers and then driving toward a brand mission and identity that truly serves what consumers want and that adds value to their lives.
In the digital world, there is more competition than you may realize. We need to make sure we’re differentiating from our competitors. Our brand reflects that differentiation and is the vehicle for communicating that to our customers.
I think we should adopt digital-first marketing because our future customer base will be online. We need to balance short-term and long-term business goals. The discounts are good, but if that is our only tactic, we may find that we erode our prices and lose in the long run.
For example, if you think about the experience in stores, something that would only be relevant to us would be if one of our cashiers always tried to upsell at the checkout. Annoying for the customer, right? But useful to us. And what if our cashiers just gave out discounts indiscriminately? Frustrating for us, but the customers would love it. The sweet spot is the middle ground, like a discount voucher that was earned after a customer spent over $500 with us.
So, being customer-first is all about knowing what customers want and then finding our own unique way of delivering that. We can only be unique if we make consistent trade-offs. If we try to be everything for everyone, we become an empty brand without identity. Our brand identity is basically our wrapper that describes the many ways we consistently make trade-offs to provide our unique experience. It reflects our business strategy.
Branding is the process of creating a unique name and identity for a product or service. This reflects how a product or service will be differentiated in the market. In a customer-centric approach, this would be derived from your data and be meaningful to customers
Customer-centric brands ensure that their customers really trust them and that all brand promises are delivered on by their products and services. High brand equity comes from customers knowing and trusting what they can expect from a brand. This comes from either prior experience, hearsay, or brand communication.
With a customer-centric approach, companies build their brand by enhancing their brand’s equity. Every single customer touch point is an opportunity to either build (or harm) your brand. Touchpoints can include advertising, but also interactions with your products or services, your help center, website, app, and more.
Brand mission declares your brand's purpose and can include a description of your organization, its function, and objectives. Your mission should be aspirational and describe why your company exists and where it wants to be in the future. In a customer-centric approach, your mission would appeal to and be supported by your customers as well as your employees and (potential) investors.
Brand identity and positioning are defined by your company as the place you want to occupy in people’s lives, hearts, and minds. It’s based on your unique and important competitive differences and built from what you know your customers want and need.
Brand identity and positioning differentiate by five main factors:
- Target audience
- Market Context
- Brand promise
- Reason to believe
Questions to think about:
- Who is this brand for?
- Who are your potential customers?
- How do you relate to others who sell products similar to yours?
- What makes you unique compared to your competitors?
What distinctive benefits should your brand stand for?
What is your brand’s unique value proposition or point of difference?
What makes your product desirable?
- How do your products and services deliver on your brand promise?
- What is the tangible evidence that you deliver on your promise?
- If your brand were a person, how would it behave?
- What traits and features would it have?
- If it had a voice, what kind of voice would it have?
- What would it say?
- What would it definitely never say?
A positioning statement is a succinct synthesis of your brand’s differentiating factors. It looks like this:
For (enter target audience), Company X is the only (enter market context) that (unique benefit) because (reason to believe).
For parents that want their children to inherit a healthy planet and lead a mindful life, Clara’s store is the only retailer to offer both environmentally-friendly products and stress-free shopping experiences. Clara’s company knows a healthy lifestyle is peaceful and respects nature.
It’s easy to rely on legacy systems and what worked in the past. Our biggest learning was that if we’re to keep this business alive for another 20 years, we need to be where our customers are, get online and change our approach.
We wanted the shopping experiences of our customers to be the same online as offline and wanted to deliver on the same promises we always have — no matter where customers purchased. What made our brand so special in our retail store needed to be captured online and all experiences needed to reflect the same brand promise, mission, and positioning statement.
Adopting a customer-centric approach to marketing where we truly put the customer first has been a game changer for us. It was a bit of work doing the research and gathering the data, but so worth it.
We’re starting to see regular traffic to our new site and really seeing how important it is to be relevant to the consumer.
Creating a customer-centric brand mission and identity helped us really get clear on what our positioning statement should be. If we're ever in doubt, we look to that to guide us.
In the digital ecosystem, customers have many options and can tune out your messages at any time. By anticipating customer needs and wants and balancing those out with company goals, you’ll be in a much stronger position to still be relevant to both your customers and your company.