Think Like A Customer … Apparently It’s Even Harder To Do Than We Thought

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.


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Be Different And Be Clear About It

nydjeansSaw 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.


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Which Is Best: Oil Or Water

waterlesstunaHow 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.


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Just When You Begin To Think They Are Serious About Marketing Accountability

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?


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What Is Marketing? What Is A Strategic Plan?

I was interviewed recently on IMTSTV on these two subjects. My surprisingly short answers are in this video. Take a look.


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What Is The Customer Really Using Social Media To Accomplish?

My colleague Mark Sprague found interesting research from IBM demonstrating the disconnect between what companies wish their customers/consumers were using social media for and what they are actually using it for.

Perhaps if we gain a better understanding of customer/consumer behavior, we can focus our marketing activities to achieve our marketing objectives. Or is that too obvious.

(click on the image to enlarge it)



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Bigger Words = More Money

In-N-Out_Burger_cheeseburgersMost of us have probably heard the disparaging remark that lawyers are paid by the word. Turns out they are not the only ones.

According to Stanford computational linguist, Dan Jurafsky, based on his analysis of restaurant menus, “The more expensive the restaurant, the longer the words on the menu.” He found that each added letter was worth about 18 cents more per item listed.

He also found that less expensive restaurants listed items as being about the diner, as in “Diner’s Choice” or “Have It Your Way,” whereas on more expensive menus the items were the “Chef’s Choice” or the “Chef’s Selection.” Can we conclude from this that people who dine at more expensive restaurants are less sure of their own choices and need guidance?

Unfortunately for marketers his research does not seem to tell us which is cause and which is effect. That is, does using big words make food seem more valuable? Or, does more expensive food take a longer description to justify its value?


P.S. The image is of a simple pair of In-N-Out Cheeseburgers. Not expensive, but sure do look good. Maybe that’s why some restaurants use images instead of words.

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