Your cus­tomers aren't who you think they are
Jeff & Lindsay Sage / 7 January 2019

Big Bird Unmasked by Alex Solis

The eight-foot two-inch yellow fenom was on to something. 

One of these things is not like the others. And they value different things. 

Chances are, you're different from the people you’re trying to reach. You’re not your client, so your likes, dislikes and biases, don’t matter.

And that can be a tough pill to swallow. After all, you’ve been doing this for 30 years, and know exactly what the kids are thinking...

But if you haven’t figured out what your customers value, there's no foundation for your marketing plan to thrive. And if you get it wrong, it’s one of the most detrimental marketing mistakes you’ll ever make. 

There are a few different types of value that almost every brand should understand and care about:

  1. Functional Value - What your brand does. It’s purpose. The solution it provides to your customer's problem, e.g. Gatorade prevents dehydration and quenches thirst. And even similar products differ in their functional value. Many are better at fulfilling functional purpose than others. E.g. some search engines deliver more relevant information in less time with less effort.
  2. Monetary Value - The price paid for an offering relative to its perceived worth to the customer. For some brands, this can be a very compelling reason for choice.
  3. Social Value - The extent to which owning a product allows customers to connect with others. Like people striking up a conversation about the latest wearable tech you’re using.
  4. Psychological Value - The degree to which a product allows customers to express themselves and feel better. Customers, voters and communities you’re trying to influence want to feel appreciated, respected, comforted, secure, hopeful and heard. We’ve all been on hold with our fav cell company for more reasons than money. #vindication

One of the most important questions to answer to turbo charge your marketing machine is this:

What types of value motivate your target markets?

Not sure? Consider investing in a lil' market research. 

Never assume your customers are motivated by one value type over another. And never assume there aren’t multiple value types influencing the same customer base. Some people bought Air Jordans for the functional value of athletic competition and some bought them for a fashion show, but never a court their feet shall touch.

The best way to get new customers and keep the old ones is to understand them better. 

Spend some time and resources uncovering your customers definitions of value. Only then can you create the conditions to position your brand to matter. 

And win.


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