I believe the critical skill required of any good marketer is the ability to think like a customer, as opposed to hoping the customer thinks like them. Many other experts also stress the need to think like a customer. While I have always known this was hard, new research suggests it is even harder.
The March 2015 issue of the Harvard Business Review, has a brief discussion of research conducted by some folks at Imperial College, which suggests that “putting yourself in the customer’s shoes doesn’t work.”
Their research found that the more people focused on being customer empathetic, the worse they were at it. One might argue that this was an artificial experiment, but my unscientific observational research over the years suggests that many are sure they think like a customer, when in fact they are actually of the belief the customer thinks as they do.
The researchers actually concluded that attempting to empathize with the customer does not work. So my conclusion from all this is that thinking like a customer is different from empathizing with the customer.
Saw this store in Vaughn Mills, Ontario, Canada. Pretty clear what their value proposition/differentiation is. Or as we like to say: What you can buy from them you can’t buy from anyone else.
And by the way the acronym NYDJ stands for Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. Right to the point.
Be clear, be different, and you can win.
How about neither? Tuna packed in oil or Tuna packed in water, which is better and how do they differentiate? Many now think water is best, but then if your product is packed in water, like all the others, how do you differentiate?
How about you just change the paradigm?
Are you slugging it out in your market trying to rise above the crowd by doing it the same way? Think differently as one famous company suggests.
Holding Marketing accountable has been in vogue for about 10 years now. Many companies claim to be pushing for it. The C-Suite claims to demand it from their CMO, and then your read an article like this one, and you have to wonder.
How can you claim to be accountable when you are increasing a budget for something you state you have no idea what it is doing for you? And how can this be ok with the CEO?
I was interviewed recently on IMTSTV on these two subjects. My surprisingly short answers are in this video. Take a look.