I watch Gordon Ramsay in Kitchen Nightmares and he’s not only a genius in the kitchen, but also an incredible businessman. In almost every episode, he goes out and talks to the locals. He learns what they know about the restaurant he’s working in. He learns what they like, learns what they don’t like. Sometimes he even takes food samples around to get peoples’ opinions on what to serve. Then he takes all that information back and implements changes to reflect the feedback he’s collected; changes that cater to his audience. This is marketing.
The biggest mistake we make as marketers is not understanding our audience. Oh, we think we do. We think we know what our buyers want from us. The fact is we’re oftentimes couped in the office. Sure, we’re reading every article online about our products and services. We know the trends; we can recite every industry statistic there is. However until we get out and talk to the people who are, or should be buying from us, we’re only making assumptions about what they want.
There is an immense amount of value in talking directly to your customers. Surveys are great – take surveys – but they limit our opportunity because the feedback stops at the end of each question. With surveys, you don’t have an opportunity to ask follow-up questions to get more information about a response. Having an honest, open-ended conversation with someone who is buying your product, or someone who isn’t buying your product but you want them to, is the absolute best way to learn how you can get their business. Talk to them, learn what they want and then, most importantly – give it to them.
Five Back-to-the-Basics Marketing Reminders
1. Find out what your target audience likes
How do you do that? Ask!
2. Find out what concerns people have when making buying decisions related to your product or service
Use your sales and marketing messaging to address those concerns up-front. Be honest.
3. Find out how you can give people a “What’s in it for me” or a “WIFM”
Aim to understand how your product or service can help people. You may help them make more money. You may make their business run more efficiently. Perhaps you make them feel better in some way.
In evaluating the responses to this question, you could come up with ancillary products that would be a great fit for your company. You may learn you need to narrow your focus. Whatever you find, be open-minded about the changes you’re about to encounter in order to achieve success.
4. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Use whatever it is you’re selling yourself. See how you like it. Think about: If you were your customer, what would you want? What features would you be looking for in your product or service? How would you want to feel? How would you want to be treated? Our emotions play a large part in our decision-making process.
5. Implement. Implement. Implement.
Now that you’ve done your research and you know what your customers want, you know what messages you need to send out them. Cater to them. We all like to be catered to.
By Tonya Cardinali