How customers buy - three guys get it right
Ran across three great articles recently; each one hits the nail squarely on the head:
Steve Cody, writing in Inc., asks, "Have you ever walked in your customer's shoes?" We all need to do this now - more importantly, we need to do something about what we discover. Fortunately there's an easy way to get into the heads of customers, in addition to the advice given in the article: Interview the people who have already bought from you, as I recommend in my book.
I've been interviewing marketers myself this past year, having given a number of keynotes and webinars for MarketingSherpa and MarketingProfs. I always interview attendees prior to giving any kind of speech, and I think this article is right on when it says that 75% of the CMOs interviewed have never experienced their brand from the outside in. No wonder there is a terrible gap between what marketers are promising and the experiences that customers are having with their companies.
Another article, that just also happens to be in Inc., by Geoffrey James. I always enjoy Geoffrey's articles, although I have disagreed with some of his points in the past. However, lately he has been fantastically on-target. This article is a great example.
If you're selling a "heavy" or "intense" scrutiny B2B product or service, you owe it to yourself to read this article by Tony Zambito in the Social Customer. Tony describes perfectly what I have been hearing from B2B customers lately, as I've interviewed them for my clients. They are telling me that they do NOT go to Google at the beginning of their buying process; instead, they contact (by phone!) others in their industry in similar positions.
Finding such people is easy now - you just go to LinkedIn and do a little digging. These conversations with working peers give customers their short list, then they go to websites; those websites give them search terms that they then use in Google.
They say they are not going to Google first because it gives them too many false positives. It's impossible to tell if a product or service is good, or if a company truly takes care of its customers, based on what they see on the website. So they start with recommendations from people they trust, people who have experienced those companies.
What this means, of course, is now your marketing is all about what you DO, not what you SAY, which brings us back to the first article - marketers who don't interview customers personally are just throwing darts in the dark, on the company's nickel.