Ever since I started working in advertising and marketing I’ve tried hard to get over my obsession with convincing business owners that their customers matter more than their businesses do.
I mean, of course their businesses matter, otherwise they wouldn’t have customers; but they wouldn’t have businesses in the first place if they didn’t have their customers to support them.
Still with me?
For some reason, business owners have a REALLY hard time with the idea that their customers matter more than they do. They think that if they can explain to their customers that they’re in the business of creating beautiful things and that they spend every waking hour on their products and services that somehow customers will flock to them – obsessed with their ability to… do their job?
How businesses become successful
That’s just it: when you create beautiful things and spend hours upon hours on your products and services, you’re just doing what you’re supposed to do. That’s how businesses run – but it’s not how businesses become successful.
Who doesn’t want to create beautiful things and come out with stellar products and services? (Pssttt… every business wants this.)
Without being completely selfish, customers are… uber selfish.
Customers want to know, “What can you and your business do for me?”, and “Why should that make me want to buy from you?”
The answers to these questions have nothing to do with you being able to create beautiful things or the amount of time you spend on your products and services.
Put yourself in their shoes. You don’t necessarily want to know every little detail about how Dropbox designed their platform, or how long it took them to create it. You want to know that it’s going to save your files, images and videos so you can access them and share them with others on Dropbox anytime you want – from anywhere.
Your advertising and marketing needs to be for your customer, not for your business.
Benefits – not features
One of my favorite commercials of all time that is pretty much the epitome of what I’m talking about here is from Google Chrome called Jess Time.
During this 60-second commercial, Google doesn’t talk about how awesome they are for creating Hangouts.
They don’t talk about being the largest search engine in the world.
They don’t talk about how awesome their logo is, how long they’ve been working online for – none of that.
They simply communicate – through a very relatable story – the things you can do when you use Google Chrome, Google+, Google Chat. They’ve focused on Jess and her dad, Elliot’s story in order to communicate how they help their customers.
It’s about how they help a father connect with his daughter; and how a daughter finds support and love in connecting with her father. That’s the benefit.
Understanding your customers
It can be difficult to not shout from the rooftop all the amazing things you’re doing to build your business. It takes time, hard work, dedication, tons of mistakes and lessons learned to be where you are right now – regardless of whether you have a successful business or you’re just starting out. You want to be recognized for this.
But in order to build your business, to build customer loyalty, you have to understand your customers. You have to understand that your customers – at least in the beginning – don’t care about any of this.
Google Chrome found Jess and her dad during a time that was difficult for both of them: Jess just starting college; her dad having to say good-bye to his daughter.
Google found ways to make it easier for them to communicate, to stay in touch, to motivate one another and to stay a part of one another’s lives even when they weren’t living under the same roof.
I want to use Google Chrome because I know they’re creating products and services that can help me do the same thing as Jess and her dad.
If you’re a business owner who is trying to advertise and market your products and services, then make your customers the focus of your communications by finding out what they struggle with, and how can you be the one to provide them with a solution.
Tell the story of how you’re going to help them, and why this should make them want to buy from you instead of someone else.