Are you feeling uncomfortable promoting your product or services at a time like this? You are not alone.
Let me reassure you. What you do has a positive impact on the lives of your customers, and you owe it to them to let them know about it. Organisations have a responsibility to keep customers informed, providing reassurance and support – highlighting the value that their products and services can bring in a time when their customer’s needs are changing. Once more, for those who fail to do so, the slope will be that much harder to climb on the road to recovery.
Many approach marketing as a means to shout about their products or services via any and all channels they can find. Entrepreneur and Author, Seth Godin said, “People don’t buy goods and services, they buy relations, stories and magic”, and this is certainly the case in my experience. Most marketers will agree that great marketing is about great storytelling, but who’s story are we telling? Hint: it is not yours!
Developing your own story and being clear on your ‘why’ is hugely important and for those who know of Simon Sinek – I am a big fan. However, that does not mean it should be the focus of your marketing activity. Instead, marketing should focus on satisfying customer needs. Even when a product or service seems transactional, all business interactions are ultimately based on relationships. Your customer needs to feel a sense of trust, that can only be developed by demonstrating true empathy and understanding of their wants and needs.
Human beings are complex, and we often make decisions based on more than one want or need. These can be broken down into three layers:
Primitive – Here we are addressing the most basic needs. These are often taken as a ‘given’ but nevertheless often need clarification to ensure our customers are aware we can help them in the first place. These can include food, shelter, security.
Personal – These could be considered ‘selfish’ requirements – what will make customers happy? This is often the area of conflict when there are many decision-makers and can be driven by the head or the heart. They can include friendship, personal development, social esteem.
Philosophical – The philosophical need is that which we feel is ‘right’. They often reflect an ethical consciousness and morality that can override every other want and need. It is often related to our purpose, why are we here?
The loyalty that customers have for their favourite organisations, companies and brands isn’t necessarily based on their portfolio, it is the intrinsic value achieved when needs are met, and surpassed and the customer can live their story as you’ve told it. So, take a moment to rethink and reframe your value proposition to make sure you can still be there to support the changing needs of your customers.
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