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Are you serving your customer’s needs or yours?

Customers with shopping bags

From public transit to banking, experiences should be designed with the customer in mind.

I was recently reading Nielsen’s 2018 Total Consumer Report and came across a quote: “Shoppers don’t shop departments. They shop needs.” This reminded me of a few studies we’ve completed at CCF over the years, in which a common theme surfaced time after time: Consumers’ personal needs far outweigh so many other decision-making factors when it comes to the products they buy and the brands they are loyal to.

Shoppers don’t shop departments. They shop needs.

-Nielsen 2018 Total Consumer Report

For instance, in the public transit space a great metro-wide system is good for everyone. But, what riders or potential riders really care about is whether or not there is a route or train line that serves their individual needs. Banking is the same. Sure, technology is great, but if I’m not comfortable with technology, there better be a brick and mortar location where I can complete my transactions. The flip? It’s also true. You can have your brick and mortar, but I want access to technology.

Brands like Apple, Google, Uber and Lyft often set the bar for customer experiences, often exceeding the expectations of the most discerning consumer. If I can pay that way using my Uber app, I should be able to with any other brand. This can make keeping pace and competing very difficult for a marketer. It can be even more difficult if you’re a smaller to mid-sized brand.

But it doesn’t have to be. You could decide to focus.

Years ago, crosstown agency Carmichael Lynch used a segmentation strategy they called “Focus On The Core” for brands like Harley Davidson, Porsche, Rapala and other passion brands. “Focus on the core and the rest will follow” is the line I remember most, and I believe it still holds true today.  While a lot has changed over time, the basic needs of our audience(s) have not. I covered what these basic needs are in my last post, Connecting Emotionally To Drive Action. Our stance? Tap into any of these core human needs and you’ll increase your odds of building favor with your audience.

As you venture down this path here are three things to keep in mind.

  1. Focus in on a particular thing you do better than anyone else.
  2. Speak directly to their needs. Functional, and more importantly emotional. If you need to choose, choose emotional.
  3. Provide an exceptional experience. And yes, this means more than the transaction. Consider the entire customer journey. After all, you’re building a relationship, not just selling widgets.

Remember the earlier quote from the Nielsen Consumer Report: “Shoppers don’t shop departments. They shop needs.” Customize your approach to the specific needs of a desired segment and you’ll be in a really good position to win.

To learn more about connecting emotionally to drive action, please drop us a line.  We’d love to talk.

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“CCF helped us get the uninsured rate in Minnesota to its lowest in state history. That’s a positive change in my book.”

– Allison O’Toole, CEO of MNsure


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