Starting a Business? Successful Marketing Focuses on Your Customer’s Needs

The primary purpose of starting a business (at least in most cases) is to make money, and lots of it. Entrepreneurs pick a business idea they are sure will be popular, with product and service features they know will be irresistible to consumers. Their thoughts are filled with how many customers they need to meet their projections, how much traffic they need to draw, and how the operations can be streamlined. They are sure that once they have all the details worked out, the customers will show up in droves.
Very often, this confidence in their venture spills over into their marketing materials such that the messages they deliver are misfocused on how great the business, products or services are. Unfortunately, this classic approach is no longer effective. Today’s consumers are more knowledgeable and savvy than ever they are far more concerned with what your product can do for them. The new adage for defining marketing efforts must be Ask not what your customer can do for you, but what your business can do for your customers!
Every bit of your marketing effort, from the website to personal sales to follow-up contact, must be completely customer-centric. Everything you think about your venture needs to start and end with your target market. They don’t care what you need, what you want, or how you feel. They only want to know what your products or services are going to do for them. Just remember, it’s not about you, it’s all about the customer.
Define your venture’s marketing messages by the benefits your customers will receive by doing business with you. Know the features of your products, but reframe those into direct benefits for your customers. People want to know how your product will make them better, happier, more attractive, or solve some other problem in their world. For example, a mobile oil-change service has the feature of “oil changes at your home or office.” Better to focus on the benefit of “saves you time and keeps your car on the road.”
Identify your venture’s USPs (Unique Selling Propositions), or what makes your business stand out over the competition. Three separate USPs are good, especially if each of the three targets the primary needs of different market segments. Of course, to define your USPs as benefits rather than features, you will need to know your target markets inside and out, in order to define the benefit that will draw them in.
One way to improve your marketing messages is to personalize the appeals. Use testimonials from satisfied customers and anecdotes about situations that your products improved. Emotional appeals are much stronger than factual appeal, regardless of the audience. Of course, the facts and statistics about your product should be available, but a laundry list of data isn’t likely to sway too many consumers.
Focus on showing customers what your products will do for them and how it will make their lives better. We are all pummeled by hundreds of marketing messages each day — make yours stand out, strike a chord, tug on the heartstrings, and leave customers wanting more.