Villing & Company

Marketing Magic: Getting in the Mind of Your Customer

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I came down with a pretty nasty cold the other day. We’ve all been there – coughing, sneezing and just feeling plain rotten. If you’re like me, just a nice word or two from someone else can really brighten your groggy day. It was in this frame of mind that I picked up a Halls cough drop. I can quite honestly say that I had never really looked at the wrapper before. This time I did, and it made me pause and smile.

On the wrapper were words of encouragement like “Be resilient.” and “Get back in there champ!” It may sound silly, but I really appreciated the sentiment. Someone in a marketing war room or a tiny cubicle came up with the brilliant idea to put those words on a wrapper. Their intentions may have been more business-related than kindhearted, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. They put themselves in the mind of their customer (someone who is probably sick) and thought to add value with even the cough drop packaging. I think that’s pretty cool.

I also think there are a few things that the rest of us can learn from this. If we put ourselves in the minds of our customers or clients, marketing magic can happen.

What Does Your Customer Need?

In the above case, the person buying cough drops needs something to help alleviate their cough first and foremost. Obviously the quality of the cough drop is of utmost importance. But Halls went beyond that to see where they could add extra value for the customer. The wrapper is literally a throwaway – something quickly forgotten – unless you can use it to add value in a memorable way. They did this to such effect that, not only have I remembered it, I’m now writing a blog post about it.

That is because someone who has a cold or who is generally sick is also likely to be subconsciously looking for a pick-me-up or some type of encouragement. It’s no fun being sick, but a kind word can go a long way. When it comes from an unexpected source, it’s even that much better. So Halls was able to meet my primary need (cough alleviation) while also addressing an ancillary need (encouragement).

Make sure you are meeting the most important needs of your customer first. Do that well. Hit a home run. Then, once you’ve done that, see if there are any other ancillary needs you can meet. If you are able to wow your customer, you can create a long-lasting relationship.

Find an Underutilized Connection Point

Look at all the ways you connect with your customers. Where is an area where you are connecting with them, but not in a meaningful way? As I said before, the wrapper of a cough drop isn’t the flashiest marketing medium. It’s something that gets thrown away quickly after being used.

But it IS a connection point – however small.

So, where are your “wrappers?” What connection points are you failing to leverage? Pinpoint them, then brainstorm ways you can add value for the customer there.

It’s About Them, Not You

In the end, this is about finding ways to add value for the customer. If you’ve pinpointed where the customer has a need and you’ve found an underutilized connection point, great! But you must come to the interaction focused on that need of the customer you’ve pinpointed.

As marketers, we tend to be more focused on promoting our brand as opposed to directly addressing the specific needs of our customers. Obviously, the hope is that the brand will grow through this endeavor. But don’t let that be your focus. If your interaction feels overly self-serving, the customer will notice. In the above example, there wasn’t any call to action or brand request. It was simply a series of encouraging statements with the Halls brand message “A Pep Talk in Every Drop.”

This is obviously a fine line, but if you can walk it correctly, you can win over your customer in a big way.

Filed Under: Advertising, Branding

Villing & Company

Villing & Co
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5909 Nimtz Parkway
South Bend IN 46628
574.277.0215

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