In the world of marketing automation, “robo-Tweets,” and auto-responders it’s pretty easy to lose touch with the personal connections you need to make for marketing to be effective. It is important to keep in mind that you are trying to reach thinking, caring, and feeling human beings with messages that matter to them.
Market research and user testing can help you keep a bit of a pulse on what’s going on in the world of your prospect or customer, but another practice might just make you the smartest marketer in the world.
Once a quarter, select an ideal customer and deliver an experience you know won’t scale at your current pricing model. Do something really over-the-top in terms of serving them, not as a revenue source, but in order to learn everything you can about what they need, how they struggle, what they love, and maybe even what you could actually figure out how to scale if you knew how super important it was to them.
No matter how many tools we develop to engage our target audiences, the businesses that consistently win do so by getting very good at the things that matter most to their customers.
The problem quite often, though, is that we assume we know what that is.
Choose one ideal customer, and get them to agree to allow you to become invested in their everyday lives. Ask them what they do, where they go, and why they do what they do. Essentially, become a focused observer. You’ll begin to get a better understanding of who they are and why they chose your business. More important, you’ll find out how your product or service is part of their lives.
Get them to agree to tell you everything about the experience of using your product or purchasing your service. Ask them to let you interview them on camera, keep a diary, or do whatever it takes to capture this information.
In return, give them something. Perhaps they will receive priority appointment slots, or you might hook them up with gift cards and other perks. If the information is valuable enough, offer your product for free.
If you do this correctly, your customer is going to get a better result. This can’t be helped. You are going to learn the best ways to add value for this customer and others. You’re going to learn about all the little things that keep them from succeeding. You’re going to discover practical things you actually can do to help them, but never thought to test. You may even learn that there’s a demand for this level of service at a premium price that could represent a healthy new source of revenue.
This will take a lot of work. But the only way to distance your business from the others who say they do what you do is to discover what matters most to your ideal clients and get very good at delivering it.
In order to do that, sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t automated.