Wednesday, October 02, 2013

What Your Customers Care About

I've been in business for myself many times over the years, and it's been my experience that when you're in business for yourself (especially if the product is YOU), you have to unlearn some common marketing myths before you can expect to succeed. For example:

No one really cares how long you've been in business.

No one cares how many happy customers you have. (Have you ever eaten at McDonald's? Do you really care how many burgers they've sold?)

No one cares that you won an award, unless it's a Nobel Prize.

No one cares about most of the stuff that's on your resume.

No one cares that your product sucks less than the competition's. McDonalds, IBM, Ford, General Motors, Microsoft (the list goes on) all compete in markets where competitors make better goods than they do. It's not always necessary to have the best product.

Was Bruce Springsteen the best singer in the world? Was Prince? Madonna?

No one cares about your moneyback guarantee. Because if you screw up, nine times out of ten the damage done won't be undone by merely refunding someone's money.

No one cares about your special two-for-one discount offer or your "special introductory price" or other price gimmicks.

If you have what someone needs, price is seldom, if ever, an issue.

What do people care about, then?

People care that you have a stable, predictable business or product that won't introduce new risk to whatever they're doing.

People care that you will commit to taking care of their needs and that you'll make good on your commitments.

People care that whatever special thing you bring to the project helps them get the results they're unable to get any other way.

People care that once they've decided to go with whatever you're offering, they'll never regret the decision.

People care about trust.

People care about flexibility.

People care about their own reputation. Yours is secondary.

Your job is to deliver what people care about. All the other stuff, all the stuff on your resume and website, all the stuff in the media kits and brochures, that's all important, but it's only there to validate and justify, after the fact, the decision that's already been made based on other, more important things.

Deliver on those important things.