Do This To Discover What Your Customers Want
Cheryl Conner, CONTRIBUTOR
The best public relations, of course, is communication that speaks poignantly to your customers’ needs. This was a big focus of my discussion last month with marketing strategist Jay Abraham. But interestingly, he notes, in discussions with consulting clients about what they want, the majority become tongue-tied. These are articulate people, but when asked to talk about a topic so close to their core, they suddenly struggle to express themselves well.
As a marketer, this is your opportunity—to anticipate and express your customers’ needs exquisitely and succinctly, better than they can. If you do it well, it will distill their allegiance to your firm on the spot. Yes, this may be challenging. But here are two steps that may help. The first is straightforward. You simply ask what they think, by way of a brief survey or by frequently including the opportunity (at the end of emails, in quick online questions or on a purchase page) to let you know what they think.
They will appreciate the effort. A survey from Cint says customers are 62% more willing to buy from a company that asks their opinions and more than half would be more loyal to the brand. This is a gesture every company can make. But at the highest levels, you will succeed even more by understanding what’s relevant to your customers even before they've been asked, according to Abraham. You will be rewarded exponentially for not only “getting it,” but for creating benefit based on their definition of value, not your own.
As to how to do this, here’s an easy secret he shared.
The ‘Amazon Method’
Regardless of your opinions of the Amazon model on the whole, the platform provides smart marketers with immediate tools for superior communication (in this case, the ability to show customers you understand what they want even before you have met them.)
You simply go to Amazon’s book section and find the discussion groups. Look at the titles and subtitles of the most popular books in any market arena. The books are successful, by and large, because of the promise they made. This will tell you the phrases people want, and the key elements of what they’re wishing for in a value proposition.
Next, go to the book or product reviews, and specifically collect all of the one’s and the five’s. When people are passionate, whether the energy is negative or positive, their subconscious thinking prevails. The comments they give are driven by their hearts and emotions, and they articulate with new phraseology. This information, Abraham notes, is infallible. Now you can go to a client (or express in your materials), “I know what you want and I know what you don’t want.” And you will be able to put the message in words they will mirror and match. They will see that you understand their issues at a deeper level they’ve probably never put into words. They are liberated. And now you can sell.
Another tidbit from Abraham, who eschews social media—give away your resources freely. As an example, he has offered some 800 articles on his own website and some 5,500 top headlines as a download (cited by his friend Brian Kurtz of Titans Marketing here).
Information about Cheryl Snapp Conner's Content University program to help businesses and executives tell their stories better is available here.