No matter what market YOU are in - YOUR customer (buyer, purchasing agent, end user) - is much more than the sum of your market research!
The biggest mistake that most companies make is assuming that because they understand their place in the market - that they understand their customer! This assumption, that the customer is some static entity, unaffected by outside influences - can be deadly!
Let me repeat that....The biggest mistake that most companies make is assuming that because they understand their place in the market - that they understand their customer! This assumption, that the customer is some static entity, unaffected by outside influences - can be deadly!
There was a large US automobile manufacturer, that was so amused by an upstart Japanese auto manufacturers entry into the US market place - that they offered to give their customers a free Japanese car for every one of their US cars that a customer bought! That US company?…Chevrolet…the Japanese company? Honda
Conversely - knowing that the customer is NOT a static entity - can be greatly rewarding!
One of the most brilliant marketing plans in the music industry occurred when an upstart American synthesizer manufacturer decided that instead of competing head to head with the absolute market leader - that they would instead, market their synthesizer as a adjunct to what the customer already had! Ensoniq’s “If you have one of these (Yamaha DX7) - you need one of these.. The Ensoniq Mirage marketing campaign established Ensoniq as one of the market leaders at the time.
What makes this story so ironic - and pertinent to the five rings - is that at the time - not only was Yamaha leading the synthesizer market with their DX7 - they were also the undisputed leader in synthesizer semiconductors for the computer audio industry - and their biggest customer was …Creative Labs. This Singapore based company - knowing their customer base AND their business base made strategic moves to better their position - and eventually purchased Ensoniq for their synthesizer technology - negating the need to purchase semiconductors from Yamaha. Yamaha THOUGHT they knew their place in the market - and THOUGHT they knew their customer - but - the didn’t - and eventually ended up exiting the computer audio semiconductor market all together.
So what do you REALLY know about your customer? And remember - you may have multiple customers in between you and the ultimate end user!
What are their PERSONAL Hot buttons? Where do they shop? What kind of cell phone do they carry? What kind of car do they drive? Don’t think it matters? Think again!
You need to address the wants, needs and desires - of every “step” in the chain to be successful - and more importantly - understand that they are also being effected by factors - outside of YOUR sphere of influence!