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I’m a huge fan of Conrad Levinson. He’s an absolute marketing guru and the creator of ‘Guerrilla Marketing’ - a fantastic book packed with clever ideas.

One of the many things Levinson says is: “It’s better to know something about your spouse than everything about marriage.”

I love this quote because it gets to the absolute heart of where so many businesses get things wrong. When I speak to organisations about their PR they are great at telling me all about what they do and the technicalities of their business, but they know very little about their prospects or customers. In short, they know everything about marriage but hardly a thing about their prospective spouse.

This is a big mistake as people buy solutions to THEIR needs or problems. It’s all about THEM! It’s never all about YOUR stuff. How brilliant you are at selling groceries, mending cars, accountancy, asset management, running a garden centre, providing financial services, manufacturing drinks - whatever your business does - is much less important.

Of course you and your competitors will know your trade and must be good at it, but that’s just a basic requirement. The thing that will make a massive difference is how brilliant you are at knowing what makes your customers tick. Their profile, lifestyle, reading habits, who influences them, the brands they like, shopping habits, worries, pressures.

I don’t mean general details. You should be able to paint a detailed pen portrait of your customers, their typical names, number of children, holidays, where they live, how they spend their time, their attitudes to issues, where they get their information etc. You should be updating and refreshing this knowledge on an on-going basis too.

The more you know, the better you will be at:

• Findings new customers

• Fighting off competitors

• Keeping established customers happy

• Persuading customers to buy more

• Talking their language

• Adopting the right tone in your marketing

• Using the right media to reach them

• Introducing new products and services that they will buy

• Getting them to talk about you to their friends or contacts

Your PR will be so much more powerful because it will resonate.

So sure, get better at logistics, improve your IT, sharpen your packaging, upgrade your accounting system, employ brilliant technical people and so ensure you are smart at doing what you do – but don’t forget to invest as much time and effort in truly KNOWING your customer. That knowledge will shape and inform everything you do with fantastic results.

As Levinson says: “It’s better to know something about your spouse than everything about marriage.”

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