August 10, 2004 Volume 4 Issue 8
5ive Thoughts About Customers
Fast Company is one of only a handful of publications I still receive in print.
Preferring to do most of my biz reading online.
Melinda Davis was the subject of an article I enjoyed so much I saved it for re-reading. Ms. Davis is a future thinker, who reaches out for ideas from others who know more than she about a specific issue or topic. Her Company, Next Group, works on answers to questions brought to her by a wide range of people and companies.
She talks about marketers wanting to connect with both the hearts and minds of customers ... and what it takes.
#1). People decide with their head & act with their body
Ms. Davis says let's get metaphysical. Which means transcending physical matter. Meaning further to go beyond the range or limits of matter. Of "stuff" ... of "things".
I call it physiology. Which concerns itself "with the normal functions of living organisms ..." Meaning it's what the body really does after the mind tells it what to do.And has very little to do with marketing and a whole heep with biology. It's what our body does - marketing or no.
Granted, these mini-definitions might not cut it at the scientific level, yet we are not at the scientific level. We're, instead, at the every day buy and sell process. For most of us that is using marketing techniques to get those that can buy from us to buy from us. Rather than from another, or not at all.
What our eyes take in and our mind sees, what our ears hear, what our hands touch, what our nose smells and mouth tastes - those are all metaphysical happenings. And very much physiology - our body receives a message and parts of it go to work to interpret.
Another sense, common sense floats through here now and again, too. Experiences and expertise combine to give some level of common sense. Of course, as Mark Twain said, "the most common thing about common sense is it's not very common."
This concept, no matter how you interpret it, is important in marketing today. Why? Because much of what a customer decides to do they learn through stories and cases, some real, many not.
Fiction sells reality - more often than not. Your audience is divided on what you bring to them, the level of value it offers to fulfill their need. Some go with you, and some do not. Know it's as much physiology as it is your product or service.
#2). Your customer’s mind is overloaded
There are many voices to hear and see ... many (even most!) that do not matter. For customers who have personal control, they ignore. Of course, the danger is, they'll ignore you, too!
For the rest, we learn from the medical community, this overload produces a high level of stress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 80% of our medical expenditures are now stress related. I find this nearly impossible to believe.
Of course, I'm one who finds the mere discussion of 'stress' nearly impossible. Get up, get going, move on and stress will evaporate. You'll be too busy doing things important to you, your family, your company, for your product and service and company to allow stress to have a place in your life.
Still, I will agree, the difference between fact and fiction, truth and lies, honesty and exaggeration is very much overlapping. And since, according to an anonymous Yiddish proverb, "A half-truth is a whole lie", much of what is overloading your customer is not so. The problem; she doesn't know which half.
#3). Marketers must 'Fix it'!
In the USA the top of the list of 'wants' is different than it was.
As Davis says, it is no longer two cars, a nice house and gizmos. This 'stuff' has been replaced by family, a safe and happy home, peace of mind. Of course, the people who say this already have two cars, a nice house and a large collection of gizmos! Let's be real, this stuff is still darn important.
What has happened is it has been added to. Davis calls it "State-of-Mind Marketing." Meaning we paint pictures of pleasant scenes with nice results, and put the customer into the picture. Television and the WWW are very good about doing this - they drop their customer into a live happening, where they become the personalities. Radio and print do it with words ... they tell stories with happy results.
Davis says today a marketer must be a healer. I say they must 'fix it', first in the mind of the customer ... and then for real. There is no reason why your customer can't have it all! You just give it to them.
The most popular entertainment in America today involves groups of people.
Sporting events with a team on the field and fans in the stands. The most popular television programming, from sit-coms to the 'how to...' shows, all involve a collection of people having a good time - together.
Every day groups from two to hundreds gather for a common cause. They think, talk, share, exchange, sometimes disagree and argue, they persuade, convince ... even back off, slow down and listen. What happens is they learn from each other. What these experiences give people is a view and a vision they would not get alone.
If you haven't heard me talk about People First, I ask you to please surf over to www.itiswhatsnext.com/ and visit. Even the short version will give you where I'm coming from.
#5).Make your own decisions - live life your way
Here Ms. Davis and I part. She says "Choose someone to choose for you." I say do it your way!
You do not have a ring in your nose, with a noose and rope that allows someone to pull you about. You are not a mule where a carrot out front and 2" X 4" on the rear flank is what it takes to push you about.
Davis says it's branding that is driving her philosophy. Okay, accepted. If people are being lead because the brand has become so strong, fine. She also says - and I agree here, too - there are far too many choices. How many labels of corn flakes can you take? How many varieties of running shoes are really needed by the marketplace? Choice - yes ... and more than small, medium and large, too. Yet, XS to 5X is a tad of overkill. You can make a decision without a zillion paint color combinations
A few weeks ago I heard author Michael Barone talk about his new book, "Hard America, Soft America".The premise is American's have a soft life well into their 20's. Yet, by the time they are 30, these same people are the toughest in the world. They grow up in less than a decade. This means they must make their own decisions - they must be living life their way.
In summary . . .
Sayings from what we in the west call The Orient, express thoughts a 'different' way. This, an Anonymous Japanese proverb is so true so as to be undebatable;
"Vision without action is a daydream.
The RJm Story
It's common to ask people what they do. When you meet someone for the first time you often ask something like "what do you do?"
What do YOU answer? My quick response always is I am a professional speaker and a writer. If you need a speaker, and would like to know more about the marketing seminars I offer please visit www.powerdirectmarketing.com.
If you're looking for a more about the creative writing the RJm team does for clients just about everywhere, visit www.rayjutkins.com.
Of course, you can call Nancy or me @ 1-805-771-8300 or send an E-mail to Ray@RayJutkins.com.
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