Friday, April 22, 2011

THE GOLDEN NUGGET: What Your Customer Wants

I am constantly trying to figure out what our customers want and just as important, what they don't want. It seems complicated but the list is fairly short. In fact, you might discover a single golden nugget that hits the nail on the head! Most companies haven't a clue so read on and dominate!

What is it that they DON'T want? That answer is surprising and certainly not at all intuitive. I see many companies out there with "Nascar" trucks all graphiced up with junk nobody really cares about. It makes you wonder if these things were any part of a real marketing strategy or just made up when the wrap was designed. This stuff takes thought and effort. Use valuable "real estate" only for things that make a real difference in the customer's mind.

Here are some typical things we all see out there that don't really make a hill of beans difference to anybody. These are what I call boring platitudes! None of these things will actually motivate anyone to buy your product or service:

- Comprehensive solutions
- Customizable products
- Fast turn-around
- For all your ______ needs
- Highly responsive
- Best _____ in the business

Boring! Why do people do that? Are they just trying to fill up empty space on the page or side of the truck? I say get out a giant eraser and get rid of all that. Your brand deserves better!

Instead, do this: Spend some time and think. Start with a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left, list all the boring features and benefits that you used to think were so great. On the right, but yourself in your customer's shoes and write a sentence or two that describes what that means. Really define it. Make a company meeting out of it if necessary.

When you're all done, there will be some that just have lousy definitions. Fix em' or toss em'! Study what you've got left and pick one that really hits a home run. Is that the little nugget your customer is looking for? Does it satisfy what your customer wants and needs? See if it falls into any one of the following customer needs categories:

- More sales
- Greater productivity
- More profit
- Better image
- More customers
- Loyal employees
- Better morale
- No hassles
- More free time

Once you've identified your golden nugget, think again. Ask yourself, "What can we do to build an entire campaign around this?" Make a logo? Train your people? It's your concept now. Own it and make your competition squirm!

Once you realize that your long list of platitudes is boring your customer to death, the sky is the limit! Defining your customer's needs is the single greatest discovery you will make in the whole life of your business.

For more tips like this, please see my other articles at You can also email me at