This is the second part of a five-part series on understanding your customer.
In this post we are going to answer two questions:
- Can you draw your customer?
- What are your customer’s needs?
Can you draw your customer?
Humans are very visual. We tend to believe what we see. Words on paper and thoughts in our brains are much weaker.
A great example of this is Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign of 1984. Visual imagery showed Ronald Reagan as strong and powerful. This overpowered the reality of who he was in the minds of voters.
This is helpful to entrepreneurs. We can use visual imagery to develop our customers. When we see our customer, in reality, we can sell to them better, How do you do that before you have a customer?
You draw a picture of them. Leander is amazing at drawing little doodles of customers. I talk about who the customer is – a few minutes later there is a little grey and red man on a piece of paper in front of me. My attempts at drawing are more like bad stick figures from kindergarten. A lot of the time that is good enough.
I have drawn stick pregnant women, girls on bicycles and triathletes all as stick figures. They work.
An alternative – if you are too embarrassed by your lack of drawing talent – is to buy some magazines. Then get some scissors and start cutting out people who look like your customer. Pin them onto a cork board above your desk.
Seeing your customer is believing in them. Seeing them every time you look up from your work keeps you focused on their needs. Focusing on their needs means better marketing. It means better product design. It is also a super easy quick win. Do it now!
What are your customers needs?
Entrepreneurs have an unconscious god complex. It goes like this. “I have a great idea. It delivers this value. It meets this customer need.” The trouble is that the entrpreneur invents the need to provide demand for his product. When he launches he discovers that the need is not there. Problem.
Projecting needs onto customers is a bad idea. It is far better to start with the customer and think about what they want. A great approach is to use the Seven Whys technique.
If we start with an entrepreneur who wants to build a competitor to Facebook.
‘People need an alternative to Facebook.’
‘because they don’t like being pawns in a huge marketing machine?’
‘because what they see on their wall is not a reflection of their own desires and interests’
‘because they don’t have real control’
‘because they cannot express their uniqueness’
‘because many people want to show their originality, power or status’
‘because many people have low self esteem’
because seeing all those perfect lives on facebook hurts peoples self image when they feel their life is not as good’
That was a hypothetical example. As you work through the whys for any need you start reaching deeper into the inner core of what people want.
In this case people don’t want a social network. They want a social network where they appear better than all their friends….. That is the sort of powerful insight that you can test and validate. If it is true you can then use it to build a far more powerful value proposition.
So ask yourself. What is my customer’s need? Then ask why is that a need seven times and see where you end up. The result will always be more insight and deeper understanding of your customer.
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