It’s the Customer

A recent online article on designing a marketing strategy, written by a well-known marketing guru, offers several steps to success. It is clear he knows his subject and has great experience in the field. However, his focus on marketing is missing a big piece. It does include benefit identification, marketing methods, audiences and call to action. What is missing is the most important item of all – the customer. At the basis of all good marketing is a full understanding of your customer — your client. In fact, marketing radiates from the vantage point of the customer. Marketing, regardless of the product or service and regardless of the methodology, is still all about the customer. Can you put your product into the hands of your customer, and if you do, will your product satisfy the needs of your customer? Do you know enough about your customer to answer that question? If not, you have some work to do. When Norm McMillian was the Vice President of Marketing for Target, he said “Marketing means finding out what your customers want and need and giving them more of it; finding out what they don’t want and need and giving them less of it.” The finding out part means asking the customer how they feel about your product or service. You can use surveys in a variety of forms, depending on your budget. Your customer service representatives can be trained to ask simple questions when your customers call the order desk or help desk. Or you can put a simple questionnaire (no more than 2 or 3 questions) on your website. Regardless of the methodology, the bottom line is still the bottom line. Does the activity produce the desired results? Are you reaching the customer with the right product and the right message? Is the return on investment sufficient for you to afford to continue to invest in the media? Fundamentally, are you getting the customers you want and need and giving them what they want and need? Bottom line: “It’s all about the customer”.

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