March 05, 2008

Try To See It My Way

A recent article in the Irish Times describes how "in Canada, the Government phone book is organised by products - birth certificates, driver's license, childcare etc", rather than by Government Department as we do it here in Ireland. Anyone who's ever battled their way through a directory trying to guess the proper department home for an activity will appreciate the thoughtfulness of the Canadian Government in this respect.

But governments aren't the only organisations that tend to organise the world as they, rather than their customers, see it.

I've worked in the past with many brands who present their offer in terms of how they produce rather than how their customers consume. People in the food industry prattle on about ambient temperature and chill cabinets and imagine that their customers share their view of the world. Those offering financial services have their customer jumping through all sorts of mental hoops trying to get a handle on matters that need only concern the number crunchers who design the products.

One of the simplest, but most powerful, exercises I do with my own clients is to invite them to step into the customer's shoes and consider the world from that vantage point. It's extraordinary the impact this can have on their thinking.

Try it for yourself. The world looks very different from over here - or from over there, for that matter. The job of the marketer is to see the world in a number of ways and reconcile the demands of the various stakeholders in a single offer that makes sense for the customer.

Because if it doesn't make sense for the customer at the point of purchase, it doesn't matter one little bit how beautifully it adds up for the business.

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