30 Jan Think you know what people want?
Let’s start this week with a quiz. The following phrases were recently researched amongst 2,000 UK and US consumers by agency Wunderman: ‘non-traditional’, ‘trendy’ and ‘ground breaking’. I wonder if you can work out what the research found? Were they:
a) The top ranked phrases Marketers used when describing what they look for to effectively communicate their brand with their customers?
b) The lowest ranked phrases consumers used when describing what they look for from brands?
Many of you, like me, would have heard those phrases a great deal in marketing conversations over the years and would have instinctively picked ‘a’. What self-respecting marketer, doesn’t want their communication to be on-trend, digitally-led and break some new ground?
Well the answer is actually ‘b’. Less than 10% of consumers care that a brand has done something new, cool and that they’ve never seen before. What is most jarring about this finding is the monumental gap between what modern marketers strive for and what the majority of people actually want from brands.
This reminds me of a tactic recently celebrated by author Dan Pink and championed by consumer-centric leaders Amazon: the empty chair in the room. Whenever they have an internal meeting about their customers, they always leave a chair empty to represent the voice of their customer. Always. Every time. What would she think? what would he do?
How easy it is to forget your customer in these internal discussions. How easy it is to rely on historic research as a predictor of future behaviour. How easy it is to fall for the latest shiny toy or trendy language. How easy it is to take the decision which keeps others happy. How easy it is to do what we did last year.
Modern businesses often claim to ‘put the customer at the heart of everything’ but rarely are they ingrained in the business to such an extent they drive the entire organisation’s direction. We all need to break through the marketing bubble and understand the motivations and behaviours of real people, and we need to do so regularly.
So next time you hear the phrase ‘non-traditional’, ‘trendy’ or ‘ground breaking’, try asking your actual customers what they think?