Why Looking At and Taking the Customer Perspective Is Important
When I coach business owners, I want them to tell me about their business. I ask them, "What do you do?" Nearly everyone answers talks about their business. They elaborate on the kinds of products they offer or the services they deliver. Almost no one mentions the customer, or the problem they help the customer solve. Although most business owners are problem solvers, it is human to talk about what we do when describing our business. Natural, but not effective.
I know. I did the same thing for a long time. When people asked me about GameTruck, I would say something like, "We are known for hosting video game birthday parties." I never discussed the customer, their experience working with us, or the problems we solved.
Like most business owners, I gave what I now call a Business Resume. Why? Because, like a formal resume, I leave it up to the person who might hire us to figure out if we are the solution to their problem. I think this is why buyers have become so much better educated.
Screenwriter Robert McKee said, "Everyone wants to be the hero's of their own story." When we discuss our company instead of the customer, we are inadvertently making our business the hero of the story. While this might feel good, it puts us in competition with our customers. They hope to be the hero.
When it comes to marketing, at GameTruck, we practice Customer Perspective Taking. Our goal is not to simply "put the customer front and center" but take the extra step of standing in their shoes and looking at the future they want to experience. We then figure out how our service can help the customer achieve that future. The Golden Rule says to treat people the way you want to be treated. The Platinum Rule says to treat people the way they want to be treated. In short, we don't want to look at the customer as much as we want to understand the perspective the customer has when they look at us.
From that perspective, we can work out how to anticipate their problems, their needs, and how we can help. Our goal is to come alongside the customer and help them live that life they are trying to live. How this translates into Marketing is that we want our messaging to make it clear the customer is the hero of their story. For GameTruck, we have many ways to say this, but this is the statement I personally use most often:
We help busy parents host an unforgetablely fun birthday for their child.
That statement makes no mention of equipment, pricing, or staff. It focuses on helping parents achieve their goal. Simon Sinek famously said, "Start with Why." From my perspective that is a great start. However, when it comes to marketing, it is more effective to end with "Customer Perspective Taking". Your marketing will be more effective when you can make it clear how your business helps your customers live their best life.