We Know You… Or Do We?

The Honda Corporation recently aired a new commercial touting their new 2013 Honda Accord.  The theme of the commercial is “We Know You”.  Throughout the commercial, the narrator discusses all the things they know about their drivers – you are tired, frustrated, need to work, have relationships, need to let loose, etc.

The commercial speaks to us. No matter what our frame of mind, Honda knows us and can relate to us.  The fact that Honda knows us so well is what led them to design a car built for who else, but us!  One of the closing lines in the commercial that drives home this whole point is, “The best way to make a car is to know you, the people who use it.”  Genius!

While this kind of advertisement appeals to us and draws us in, how many marketers can say the same thing to their customers, “We Know You.”  Really “knowing” your customer means more than knowing they are a director in an enterprise organization in a technology space.  It goes beyond basic account profiling and segmenting your database.  This is about truly getting “personal” with your customer:

– What makes them worry?

– What challenges do they face on a daily basis?

– Where do they go to get the information and knowledge they need?

– What are their short and long term goals?

– What are their career objectives?

– What help are they looking for as they strive towards these goals?

–  What motivates them?

And the list goes on. You have to dig deep to really know them!

I was discussing this concept and ad with one of my clients yesterday and she made the following comment, “I do not wake up in the morning thinking, I am the VP of Marketing for a mid-market company.  I wake up and go to work thinking, what can I do to make my team and our work that much more valuable.”

There it is.  The answers I need… that is my customer.  She cares about excellence, she wants to enable her team, she is motivated on a daily basis to do the best possible with the resources and budget she has.

I also know from the time we have spent working together that she works remotely, that she likes to use the camera feature on the weekly team calls, that she is outcome-focused, that she is a forward-thinker and is making great strides in aligning with sales.  I know a lot about my customer for one reason and one reason only, we have spent the time getting to know her, her team and their needs.  In this instance, we have been getting to know them for a year, which included the sales process.

As marketers, if we are going to make the connection with our buyers, we need to know them.  Yes, we need to know them at the macro level, but we also need to know them at a personal level.  As I have said before, people are the ones who buy in B2B, they buy from people, not buildings or corporations.

Take the time to get to know your customer.  Plan a few weeks each year and select a certain number of customers to visit.  Attend the regional user groups, interact with them via social media, and join your field reps on sales calls.  Knowing your customer will be the only way you will be able to develop a buyer centric point of view and begin to develop content for them, not for you. It’s all about knowing your customer.

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