What Is a Marketing Perspective? . . . And How to Get One
There is a well-worn saw among sales people: “To know why your customer buys, you must see the world through your customer’s eyes.” It’s true: simply adopting a customer perspective, rather than a “company perspective” can dramatically improve both close ratios and repeat business. (For more expert and cogent advice on the point, you should also read Jeffrey Gitomer’s Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty Is Priceless.)
But the customer perspective is only the first step. If you are not seeing the world as your customer does, I promise that you are competing on price. If you are willing to adopt the customer perspective, though, we can drill down — to the point of perhaps making you uncomfortable — and apply the entire concept to the broader concept of branding.
That is how you develop a Marketing Perspective (TM).
A Marketing Perspective
Remember that your brand is your customers’ collective expectation of doing business with you and that marketing’s objective is not (only) to sell stuff, but to nurture potential customers into a loyal community of users.
So rather than simply seeing the world through your customers’ eyes (which is vital), you must also be willing to ask the essential follow up question:
What expectations about doing business with me/my company am I creating?
That answer determines both if and how loyal they will become and dictates what they will say to others about you. That is a Marketing Perspective. It is not interested in defending practices or convincing (much less arguing with) customers about what you do, but discerning how what you do impacts and creates expectations of paying you to do it.
And How to Get One
If you have trouble with discerning the answer and want to avoid bias and delusion, you drill down with these:
How will this make my customer feel? About her- or himself, about me, and about doing business with me?
What will this make my customer say to others about me and about doing business with me? Something good? Something bad? Nothing at all?
Ask and answer these questions about (at least):
- Each principle and policy that touches a customer (from operating hours to billing cycles to refunds and exchanges).
- Physical space (from restrooms to showrooms to web sites to parking lots, including signage and other communication about the principles and policies that touch customers).
- Moral motives and conduct (from community relations to what you pay and how you treat employees to your “extra-profit” motives and positions — both whether you have them and what they are).
Do that, and you will begin to develop a Marketing Perspective. What a lot of people — particularly customer service professionals — get wrong is that a Marketing Perspective requires catering to what customers want. It may or it may not.
We’ll talk about that next week. In the meantime, what do you think about the Marketing Perspective? Feel free to leave a note, or, even better, tweet at me.
I publish a #GrowDemand article each week at noon PST. Let me know if you’d like me to tweet you the link each week. I’m happy to.
Next week’s topic: Proactive Versus Responsive Branding