Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Risk and Reward ... Your Call

Sarah at Tomato Nation might be an isolated complainer (with a great sense of humor) and the companies she’s ripping on might have done the proper customer discovery to know with minimal risk that the colors they chose for their fashions were spot on with their primary target audience. But her story rings true based on a career working for many, many companies. Way too often, we fail to even ask what they want. How contextual is that?

Case in point, one CEO I worked for begrudgingly agreed to a customer research project to help us hone our first-ever network TV advertising, providing he could complete the survey himself and compare his answers to the survey results. He had a lot of it right. But, he was shocked to find that price was not one of their concerns. We focused the message against unmet needs and launched at a higher price point than he believed possible. The customer won. The company won.

Skip the discovery and risks go straight up. Your campaign will miss the real needs. Your message will be seen as lacking relevance – the customer likely will not even open the mailer or notice the product on the shelf. Do it right and customers will reward you with their business.

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