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The Number One Rule of Marketing — Know Your Customer

June 24, 2010

Obverse of the Series 2006 $20 bill

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If you want to understand marketing you have to know the number one rule — know your customer.  Marketers must know their customers because, no matter what kind of product or service you’re selling, money comes from the customer.  It doesn’t come from you, your mom, your friends, or your friend’s friends.  Well, it might come from your friend’s friends if they end up buying stuff from you, but the point is that the most important person to a marketer is the customer because a marketer’s job is to make money.

You might think, “uh, yah, of course!”  Well, you say that now, but will you still be saying that when you are designing a product or creating an ad campaign?

Here’s what I mean: whenever a marketer is doing  his work, it’s very easy to sell to himself.  In other words, it’s very easy for a marketer to think “this product is awesome, of course people will buy it” or “I love this ad.  It’s awesome.”  Ok, so that’s what you think, but what does the customer think?  Really, the number one rule of marketing is that a marketer has to  get out of his head and into his customer’s head.  You may think that a product is great, but what does your customer think?  You may think an ad is clever, but will it convince someone else to buy your product.

Actually, selling to yourself is the number one enemy of a marketer.  Why?  Because it’s so easy to do.  We think something is great; we think that everyone else thinks like us; therefore, everyone else will think that it’s great and buy.  Wrong.  Not everyone thinks like you.  Or me.  Or any single person for that matter.  Kids think differently than adults.  And married people think differently than single people.  You get the point.  Every sub-group thinks differently than another sub-group, and there are even sub-groups within sub-groups that think differently.  Thus, a marketer’s job is to first figure out who he is trying to sell to and then he figure out how to sell to the who.  This who is the target market.

I could talk more about the target market, which happens to be a very scary word for a lot of people, but I’ll leave that for another post.  For now, it’s important to remember that a marketer’s job is to know his target market so he can sell to his target market.  He has to know their fears and doubts, what makes them happy, how they talk, the words they use, etc.  Once he knows this, he can find out if they want his product and how to best sell to them.  This is the marketer’s number one job.  It also happens to be marketing’s number one rule.

If you’re currently selling a product, use this post to reconsider your strategy.  Are you selling to yourself too much?  Have you spent enough time to understand your customer?  Do you even know who you are trying to sell to?  If you can answer these questions, you’re well on your way to successfully marketing your product or service.  Good luck!

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From → Marketing Tips

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