The most dangerous misconception that founders and marketers can have is the belief that anyone, including their most loyal customers, care about their product or service.
It’s an easy trap to fall into because we’re obsessed with our own brands. We commit all this time and energy into building the thing we sell. We carefully craft our offerings and pack them with amazing features.
The problem is that this obsession puts you in a mindset of believing the thing you created is the thing customers want.
It puts you into an offering-first state of mind.
But this is the exact opposite of where your head needs to be to connect with customers.
There’s a great excerpt from the marketing book, Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz that speaks to this point from a copywriting perspective:
“Copy cannot create desire for a product. It can only take the hopes, dreams, fears, and desires that already exist in the hearts of millions of people, and focus those already-existing desires onto a particular product. This is the copywriter’s task: not to create this mass desire – but to channel and direct it. “
Schwartz wrote that book in 1966. And the reason this point is just as relevant 55 years later is because it has nothing to do with marketing trends. it speaks to the fundamental truth of how we operate as people.
We all have these hopes, dreams, fears, and desires. We all want to make progress in our lives. We all want to improve the way we operate in the world.
That’s why we, as individuals, see the world through a lens of what I need, not what you provide.
When a brand talks about itself – describing the amazing product, service, and features they sell, it’s attempting to create mass desire for the product or service itself.
A brand’s attention instead needs to be laser-focused on the mass desires that already exist within their customers.
That’s what your marketing needs to communicate in order to connect with your audience.
Luckily, it’s a pretty easy change to make when you have the right tools.
Discover What Your Customers Want To Accomplish
We use a framework called, Jobs to Be Done, to help us discover and tease apart what customers are seeking to accomplish in their lives.
There’s an entire resource section in our free Brand Field Guide dedicated to Jobs to Be Done. Check that out for a full breakdown and exercises.
We define a Job to Be Done as the progress a person is trying to make in a particular circumstance.
Put another way, it helps us understand what customers want, why they want it, and when they want it.
It’s designed to get you completely removed from the headspace of what your brand provides. It digs down below that to get clear on what your customers hope to accomplish instead.
The other reason they’re called “Jobs”, is because your customers “hire” a solution to help them fulfill it.
And if something better comes along, they’ll also “fire” their current solution and replace it with a new one.
But even if a customer “fires” a solution, the Job itself continues on. The mass desire still exists. The Job exists totally independent of your solution or any other solution in the market.
Because of this, we say that Jobs are not created, they’re discovered.
This thinking perfectly aligns with Eugene Schwartz’s quote on copywriting. Your task is to discover the mass desire that already exists in people.
That mass desire is your customer’s Job to Be Done.
It can include functional, emotional, and aspirational qualities within them.
To see how these elements fit together, let’s look at an example of a Job Story for Lyft:
Here we can see each piece of the customer’s Job:
- Circumstance / Situation: Need to get somewhere but I can’t or don’t want to drive myself
- Motivations: Have a ride come in minutes, Pay automatically, and Feel safe during my ride
- Outcomes: Avoid planning and scheduling a ride, Skip money transactions with the driver, Relax during the ride and focus on other things
And we can see how each of those elements exist outside of Lyft:
- People have always had a need to improve their ability to get from point A to point B.
- People would generally prefer to get to point B asap.
- People want to avoid awkward exchanges with strangers.
- People always want to feel safe when they travel
Through that lens, we can see why Lyft’s solution perfectly aligns with that customer’s Job Story.
To start to uncover those customer Jobs you just need to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. To help get you in an empathetic headspace for developing the elements of your Job Story, you can use Map & Fire’s 5 And-Then-What exercise.
That link has a full breakdown with examples on how to use this exercise to dig into the emotional and aspirational drivers of your customers.
The final step of this customer-first shift is to validate the thinking around those Jobs. To do this you have to talk with the customers themselves.
Increase Your Brand’s Growth By Thinking Customer-First
The better we understand the desires or Jobs that already exist within our customers the better we get at addressing them and marketing to them.
The good news is that those Jobs, those mass desire, are out there waiting for you to discover and service them.
The even better news is that you can immediately get to work on understanding them by focusing on three things:
- Using the Jobs to Be Done framework to break down what your customers hope to accomplish and why.
- Using the 5 And-Then-What exercise to dig deep into what motivates your customers.
- Using customer interviews and surveys to validate your thinking and refine your understanding.
Embracing this change, dramatically improves how you communicate with your customers and guides what you offer them to help with their needs. This work improves customer engagement, conversions, and creates long term loyalty. In other words, it provides the tools you need to grow your brand.
Get Help Understanding What Your Customers Really Want
If you’re ready to build stronger connections with your customers, reach out for a free consultation. We’ll help you transform your best business thinking into an actionable, shareable, growth-oriented guide. Click below to learn more about the Brand Guidebook process.