What is your customers problem? And how will you solve it?

Have you noticed that you only get your credit card out to buy something when you have a problem you need to solve? You don’t buy something just because you like it, or because you think it is clever or beautiful. Funnily enough, your customers behave in the same way.

People only buy things when the product or service helps them solve a problem that they have. 

Only once they realise they have a problem they need to solve do they choose the one they like or think is clever or beautiful. As a business leader you need to understand the customer’s problem that your product or service will solve. The product most likely to be chosen is the one that does this the best.

Often marketers explanations of a brands success or failure does not discuss whether the business is really helping to solve customer problems and does not consider the real motivations that cause people to want to buy products and then how they go on to choose your brand. Emotional engagement or appeal may well draw customers to choose one brand over another when there is little difference between the choices, but it cannot persuade people to repeatedly buy things that do not offer good solutions to the issue. Emotional engagement tends to be stronger with brands and products that do the best job. It is hard to have a strong emotional engagement with someone who does not help you in some way.

‘Banks should forget about profits and focus on service…’

In Marketing Week last week (6th June 2013), Anthony Thomson, founder and former chairman if Metro Bank develops on this thinking further by focussing on the needs of the customer before the needs of the bank; ‘profit should be a by-product of giving customers a better product, service or experience, not the reason for being in business…’


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Likewise Google’s dominance could be driven by the functional experience delivered to customers.  Their search engine strives to do a better job for customers than the others. They apply this principle not just to search results but also to the display of paid for advertising. They do not allow advertisers to be at the top of the page just by paying more money for the ad. The pay for click ads at the top of the list is the best available ads that deliver the best answers to search queries. In contrast Yahoo, Microsoft and Overture all have allowed advertisers to buy their way to the top of the list. Advertisers and search engine optimisers often appear on the press and on web forums debating the fairness or wisdom of Google’s policies for advertisers and for producing search results. Their analysis often assumes Google wish to maximise short term revenues rather than enhance the user experience. But really advertisers wish to manipulate the system to their advantage. Despite the fact that advertisers are the paying client, Google resist this.  What Google seem to keep remembering is that consumers of the search engine are who they must please the most.

What this insight shows us is the value of being a truly customer led business that never loses sight of its mission to deliver the best customer experience.

To read more about customer insight and how to effectively apply this to your business visit http://www.differentiate.co/