I talk quite regularly on the benefits of businesses being human-centred, or customer-centric, and the tools you can use to become more so. I do so because in our world of accelerated change and unlimited information our customers need to have a compelling reason to purchase from you. There are a myriad of businesses out there trying to disrupt their industries, there are even more businesses out there (some trying to survive their first or even five years in business) doing something similar to you. How do you stand out so that your customers can find you, buy from you, and ensure business success?
Traditionally a product was developed and then it was marketed. The creative team engaged in the last stages before the product was ready to go to market. A good creative team can create a great advertisement or marketing campaign for your product to make you believe that, say, a brown sticky drink is good for you and will evoke feelings of love. However, because the consumer now has access to so much information they are more informed and are less likely to buy into something that has been spun on a very creative wheel (think Don Draper with the Kodak wheel - The Carousel).
Our modern, more informed, less engaged world requires something different if we are going to evoke emotions with our audience so that they transform into brand evangelists (and sell your product to others for you). They want to know that you are solving a problem for them. This requires us to turn the process of developing a product/service on it's head. Think marketing first, then the product/service. Ask, 'What is it that people want?'. Then ask yourself, why are you trying to solve this problem for them, what are you trying to achieve (what's your purpose, what's your vision?), what value can you provide, what makes you different? In understanding your market first, time and money can be saved on product/service development (as well as being able to create a website that actually attracts customers and a brand identity that speaks to your target audience). In working through why you are the business to provide this you create a compelling story with a unique value proposition to those customers that will resonate with your values.This message can then be used in your marketing strategy. You can speak directly to your target customers, their pain, how you are going to help them, what value you bring.
Great brands do this really well, there is no reason why you can't do it in your business too. The process: Fully understand your market, fully understand yourself/your business, fully understand your competitors, develop your unique value proposition UVP, and then refine/develop your minimum viable product MVP. Time and money are not the only things you will save in the long term, try it and see. Let me know how you go in the comments below.
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by Samantha Hurley
Written by Samantha Hurley
Sam co-founded Marketing Entourage after spending 18 years in senior sales & marketing positions for companies such as Lonely Planet and The Press Association in Melbourne, New York and London. Sam started out in a design agency and used design thinking to help develop a product that went on to revolutionise the media industry in 2002. Sam also teaches Digital Marketing and Data Driven Marketing at General Assembly. The daughter of an engineer and a designer, she learned to code and design at a young age. She feels she has the mind of a scientist and the heart of an artist and likes to sit in the space where creativity, technology and business converge.