Who are you selling to?

Here’s a question that comes up a lot: ‘๐˜ž๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜บ๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ?’ โฃ
For marketing to work, you need to know your audience. Specifically, you need to know their pain points.โฃ
Often businesses figure this out over time. However, you can streamline the process. โฃ

How can you streamline your marketing efforts?

Talk to your customers.

Yes, I’m serious. Ask them why they purchased from you. Conversational marketing with customers is often overlooked, but it is your ticket to understanding ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฉ๐˜บ behind the purchase. โฃThis is key information when you set out to streamline your marketing efforts.
It doesn’t need to be complicated.

Don’t be afraid to talk to people. Real conversations are key to your marketing.

Instead of asking how they heard about ๐˜๐Ž๐”, ask about how the product will help ๐“๐‡๐„๐Œ. โฃMost people forget to flip the script and focus strictly on their product instead of the people.

But…I’m an eCommerce store. I just stare at a screen and don’t get to talk to anyone. ๐Ÿ˜ญย 

Fair enough.

If this is the case then the best option is to reach out via email or phone. A surprising number of people will happily talk to you. โฃThe more niche and technical your product, the more likely it is that someone will pick up the phone.
I’ve personally had phone conversations with product leads from Apple, Google, and Uber. People are busy, but if you position the conversation in a way that resonates with them (and works for their schedule), they’re happy to help.โฃ

How can you figure out what your customer’s pain points are?

To make effective marketing material you need to understand your customer’s pain points. โฃA lot of marketing textbooks talk about this, but very few actually give contextual examples of how doing this will impact your business (and help generate more revenue).

If you ever set out to create customer personas, this is going to be the most important thing you learn.

When you understand the problem people are trying to solve when they buy something, you can position all of your marketing around that solution. Instead of talking about how great your service is or how your product will change lives, you can talk about why your product will help people. In terms of a ‘pitch’, it’s a much stronger approach.

How do big companies make this work?

They invest a lot of time and energy into interviewing their customers.

Storytime: Milkshake Marketing๐Ÿฅคโฃ

Once upon a time, @mcdonalds noticed that their sales for milkshakes were surprisingly high weekday mornings. Everyone thought that was super weird because it wasn’t a breakfast food. โฃ

๐Ÿค”ย So, what did they do?

They talked to their customers. โฃInitially, they started with the traditional approach of interviewing people and after months of looking for answers, they finally decided to go into the restaurants to ask actual customers more about what was going on.

What did they learn?

People weren’t buying a product. They were buying a solution to a problem. Specifically, the language they use in this instance is ‘they were hiring a product to do a job.

Here’s a bit more about how this theory works:

…wait, whaaa? I still don’t get it. โฃ

The theory is that a person doesn’t buy something just because. They buy things because the product helps them complete a job or task.

When McDonald’s dug a little deeper, they realized that the spike in milkshake sales was being driven by a very specific demographic (white-collar dudes who commute by car). Essentially, they were buying milkshakes for their commute to work. โฃ

How did this help McDonald’s sell more milkshakes?

Understanding why people were buying this product enabled McDonald’s to enhance the product (they made the milkshakes thicker, so they’d last longer) and delivery (they moved the machines closer to the drive-through window, leading to faster service). โฃ
๐“๐ก๐ž ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ญ?โฃ
They saw the dramatic bump in milkshake sales theyโ€™d hoped for. โฃ๐Ÿฅค๐Ÿฅค๐Ÿฅค๐Ÿค‘

Does Jobs to be Done work for every industry?

It can be a lot to process, but when you’ve studied marketing as a discipline for a while, these puzzle pieces can eventually be applied to any industry. This theory, known as the ‘Jobs to be Done Methodology‘ is often applied to consumer products that you or I would buy in a store. However, we can also use it to help us make marketing strategies for emerging technologies and SaaS (software).

Here’s an example of how a tech company used the Jobs to Be Done Methodology to make stronger AI products:

How can this help you streamline your marketing efforts?

As a small business, you’re not going to have a budget that looks anything like that of a tech company from the Valley or McDonald’s; however, there are still many lessons we can apply:

  1. Talk to your customers whenever you get a chance
  2. Ask them how your product or service helps them to solve a problem
  3. Use their responses as a way to understand their pain points
  4. Expect surprises–why they’re buying something isn’t always straightforward
  5. Use this knowledge to better position your business
  6. Weave this positioning into your marketing material
Don’t throw these lessons in the garbage when you’re done. Repeat the process regularly.

When you understand who you’re selling to and why they’re buying, you take a lot of the guesswork out of your marketing strategy. This will help you to focus your efforts and deliver stronger campaigns.

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By Christine

Hi, I'm Christine. I'm a public speaker & marketing professional with a specialization in digital strategy. I live and breathe all things content & marketing. In my previous positions, I've done everything from rebranding companies, launching new SaaS products, writing sales copy, and developing long-term SEO & social strategies. I believe that quality communication and measurable results are the key to every digital marketing strategy.