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Let Your Customer Be Your Guide

Instead of you trying to define your brand, it can be far more revealing to instead, let your client be your guide.

Businesses often struggle with their branding message – trying to define, for their potential clientele, who they are and what they do; why a customer would want to buy from them.

The resulting message is often too vague, too far-reaching, too ambiguous — maybe too easily forgettable.

Instead of you trying to define your brand, it can be far more revealing to instead, let your customer be your guide.A businessman pointing to the entrance of a maze

When I consult with a new client, one of the first things I like to do as part of the assessment is to interview their customers (preferably in person or by phone). Depending on the type of business product or service, I ask questions like:

  • What type of work does this business provide to you?
  • Are you satisfied with the product or service they provide?
  • Why do you use this business as opposed to their competition?
  • Do you see any areas of improvement?
  • Would you recommend this business?

This interview serves several purposes: I get the customer’s view of what the business in question offers, why they hire or buy from them and what their “impression” of that business is. This information helps me in branding a company, determining the niche they might occupy, deciding who their target audience is, formulating their “value proposition” and ultimately, in marketing that business.

Most businesses, if they have an ongoing client relationship, are in regular contact with their customers. If a buyer continues to buy, the relationship is probably okay. Many businesses fail to do a periodic “check in” — they assume that if the customer continues to be a customer, there are no relationship “issues.” Many companies use software integration to merge management software together, such as a HubSpot Mailchimp sync, click to research more into how syncing two different pieces of management software together could improve your businesses customer satisfaction and relationships.

But checking in with customers can also:

  • Make the customer feel good (somebody cares)
  • Allow the customer to voice positive feedback or vent any negative input
  • Let a business focus on their perceived strengths in the eye of their customer
  • Alert businesses to a problem they may have otherwise not known about

Polling customers is, for many businesses, an “If I don’t ask, they won’t tell” situation…perhaps anticipating negativity, businesses are leery about finding out the truth.

In my experience, the opposite has proven true: interviewing customers makes them feel valued and the feedback has often proven invaluable.

Do you need help creating your branding or marketing messages? Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based small business marketing, branding, social media and content marketing consultant. Click to find out more about Martha Spelman. If you don’t subscribe already, please sign up for Martha’s Blog: Marketing Musings and Tips du Jour.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based branding and marketing expert and the co-founder of Packbands silicone storage and organization straps. Martha is the author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog. Click to connect on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

To find out more about Packbands, visit the Packbands website. Martha can be reached directly at: 310.266.6992 or martha@marthaspelman.com

One Response

  1. Right on target Martha! If we want to know what customers like, need, and dislike–we have to ask them. I also like your “preferably in person or by phone”–a great way to communicate when we consider the blizzard of paper and e-messages that everyone slogs through.

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