Marketing Tip 1: Understand consumers

Are you interested in knowing how you should do marketing for your startup? We asked Martin Klčo, managing director of Leo Burnett Advertising. In the first of 10 posts, he advises that you should understand your customers.

I met a start-up today, they had a great app, they spent so many hours locked in the room – and guess what: they didn’t know what customers like or dislike about their service. How and when they would use it. Or who the right customer really is.

Don’t ask your friends for feedback – they’ll just comfort you. Go out there and ask real consumers. You’ll need to position your product, cater to a certain need or address a certain pain point, you’ll need to choose which benefit to communicate to whom. You can guess, but testing your hypothesis in real life is a better idea.

Martin Klčo, managing director of Leo Burnett Advertising

Do not have preconceived ideas – consumers may like a completely different aspect of your solution than you’d originally thought. By talking to people you may uncover your holy grail, an INSIGHT. A truth hidden deeply in your consumers, but not something they would talk about often.

Example: Snickers – you are not you when you’re hungry. There you have a fantastic consumer truth that can empower the product story (the most fulfilling chocolate bar that there is..) and also your marketing and communications.

Of course, understanding consumers is not only important for good marketing. It is essential to your business in general. Try for example a value proposition canvas, but make sure you don’t fill it so that it fits your product. Fill it based on real consumer feedback.

Example: You create a fantastic platform for leadership e-learning. The problem (what consumer struggles with) – “I don´t have enough leadership skills to lead my first small team”. Solution (what he needs) – “Leadership workshops on”. How to sell it (what he wants) – “I want my team to get the best results in our department”. How to sell it/market it (why he wants it) – “I want people in my company to respect me and to quickly build a personal status to become a candidate for the role in senior management”.

You now see the clear difference. If you didn’t have the “Why”, your marketing efforts could concentrate on what the platform offers, how easy it is to find leadership courses etc. If you have the “Why”, you know you start with tapping into the real need or want – position it as the place to go when you want to build respect in your company.