All That Matters To Your Customer-By Dave Thackeray
I cannot begin to describe how great this post is. From my wise friend, Dave.
I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Perk of a bank holiday weekend. I enjoyed a long-anticipated epiphany at the pages of a Harvard Business Review article about identifying your best professional self. I learn best when reading and afterwards expressing myself through writing.
Here we are.
Backstory to this article
Together with the discovering of my optimised learning style I recently found where I can do my best work. Marketing communications. It suits me, and from the look of the growth we at my health charity have been experiencing through digital channels, it works equally in a commercial capacity.
Marketing communications is an area most companies overlook. Because it means nothing but to practitioners.
Marketing communications is the intersection of expression and entrepreneurialism.
I do quite well presenting ideas. I'm expert in triangulating systems and environments and opportunities. It makes sense that I do my job well in marketing communications.
Rationalising what we marketing communicators do involves the tabling of three elements powering successful organisations. Please don't me offput by the previously incoherent ramble. This is where the rubber hits the road.
The three to thrive
Look around and how many of your peers make it their duty to tear apart the rule book of business to rationalise the value of their product portfolio.
It takes nerves of steel to redefine your existence through utility. Jay Baer wrote a book about the importance of utility. He called it Youtility. I don't know why, but there are probably some great points in that book. I don't read marketing books. I read customers.
Most overlook this critical exercise. Because what, really, is utility?
Utility isn't a commodity. The context of your usefulness to one customer will be radically different to another.
One of your clients may endure self-esteem issues. Your making them feel important by reaching out to them on their favourite social platforms increases their perception of worth, and emboldens in they untold impetus and fortitude for their talents and compassion to permeate their communities and networks.
Another may struggle to grasp how your service makes them more efficient doing their job. Your reaching out to them with an explanation, something none of your competitors took time to do, is all it takes to create a customer for life.
Usefulness to another is being entertaining, enlightening, educational and empowering.
To most of our customers, being useful involves us tailoring lifestyles with our Martini moments - activities at the right time and place, matching their mood.
The highest paid marketer will define your utility quotient. Extend it. Understand what usefulness and your brand means to all your customer audiences. Because your utility is the difference between thriving and merely surviving.
How many companies make it genuinely easy for us to become a pleased customer? Most product development teams think first about how things work, theoretically - but not in practice. This is in part why I believe every organisation's highest-paid marketer needs to concurrently be that entity's most passionate customer. How can you possibly create a voice of the customer system when you don't know what that customer thinks and wants?
Simplicity is where it's effortless to enjoy your wares. Where the user guide is common sense and intuition. Where every touchpoint involves frictionless interaction. You understand the customer, and they you.
Do modern organisations also have to be their own best customer? You bet they do.
The best brands know when to fade away and let their customer enjoy the experience on their own terms, free of distraction.
The only time I ever think of Braun is when I reflect on how utterly inspirational they have been to thousands of other companies in how they conceive devices and manipulate their supply chain.
Yet I imperviously operate daily about a dozen of their products. I never look at the handle or the backside for the Braun marque in validating my choice of weapon. They have done their job in converting me from looker to booker. Every time I want a product connected to personal hygiene or timekeeping, Braun is my number one choice. But it's not like they harangue me. We together have heritage, and that's enough.
Same rules for Logitech. FitStar. In many ways these guys need to recalibrate their email marketing with segmentation for existing users. Their marketing to me needs to be 100% focused on retention and referrals. But they don't have the sophistication at the marketing level to accomplish this. Yet.
On a local level, Bury Council lets me pay my council tax annually. I see my bins collected. Don't get me started on the potholes - but what I'm saying is once a year the money collector comes in the post, and for 12 months I don't have to invest time in them depriving me of my hard-earned coin.
Utility. Simplicity. Invisibility. Plaster your walls with them. Persuade your executive team that they are all that matter. Products come and go. Disruption and innovation take care of that.
What endures is your moving the needle in your customers' lives. And then fading away.