You should spend more time researching your customer than your product

Are you aware that some of the best marketing principles are counter—intu­itive? Consumers aren’t in need of 1/4 inch drill bits. They’re in need of 1/4 inch holes. It highlights one of the great truths in marketing – that you should spend more time studying your consumer than studying your product

If you get inside the mind of your consumer, you can under­stand what it is they’re really buying. And once you’ve done that, you’re home free.

To drive home this point, take this simple test:

People who buy Porsches buy them because:

  1. They have 4 valves per cylinder;
  2. They have longitudinal en­gine alignment;
  3. They have 9:1 compression ratio;
  4. They make the owner feel sexy.

The answer, of course, is num­ber 4. (Trust me, nobody ever bought a Porsche for its longi­tudinal engine alignment.)

The people at Porsche understand this which is why they sell so many Porsches every year.

So what are the timeless truths about marketing that ev­ery marketing director should know? Here’s what I’ve come up with:

1There are only 4 reasons people will buy your product or service.

They are 1) price; 2) service; 3) quality; and 4) exclusiv­ity or some combination of those concepts. Everything else is just a variation of those themes.

2 Don’t do research on people who buy your product or service.

Do your research on the peo­ple who have considered your product or service, and then went elsewhere. That’s where you’ll find gold.

3 Your #1 job isn’t to take care of your existing customers.

Your #1 job is to acquire new customers. Oh, sure, taking care of existing customers is a very close second. But your #1 job is to get new customers. Other­wise, you’ll be out of business in a few years. Do the math. and you’ll discover it’s true.

4 The best time to in­crease customer loyalty is when a customer is ticked off at you.

This is also counter—intuitive, and it’s also true. If you can take an existing customer who is about to leave and convert them to a happy, fulfilled cus­tomer, they’ll often become your biggest advocates.

5 The most important order you’ll ever get is the second order.

This is a classic principle first mentioned by Bob Stone, the direct marketing guru. Why is the most important order the second one? Because a two—time buyer is at least twice as likely to buy again as a one—time buyer. Treat your second time buyers like royalty. Because they are!

6 Don’t compare your company to other com­panies in your industry.

The trick is to compare your company to best–in–class companies in other indus­tries.  That’s where you’ll find the new, innovative and growth-producing ideas that make the cash register ring.

7 You’ll learn more from your failures than you will from your successes.

People spend their careers trying not to fail. But if you aren’t failing, it means you’re not trying new things. Remem­ber, most successful entrepre­neurs did not achieve success on the first–or even second — attempt. Steve Jobs failed at Apple plenty of times before coming back and kicking ass.

8 All the research in the world won’t teach you as much as transactional data.

Transactional data is the infor­mation from people who have actually purchased your prod­uct or service. You’d be amazed at how deep it can go. BKV Dig­ital and Direct Response once studied 400 different data points about each one of their client’s customers. 400 pieces of information about each cus­tomer! Imagine the impact you can have on your sales when you can go 400 data points deep on your customers.

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