Your competition can copy your faster, better, cheaper features almost instantly, but they can’t replicate the trust you’ve built with your customer. Here’s the deal, that kind of trust fuels today’s economy. It’s born not of a self-centered mission statement like “we want to be best-in-class in X” or “we want to disrupt Y” but of a beating heart that frames your customer as the hero.
Your brand is not the hero in the story, your customer is.
Companies like Amazon get this. From the Amazon Fact sheet,
“To be Earth’s most customer-centric company where people can find and discover anything they want to buy online.”
Amazon is not the hero, they’re playing a supportive role in the story of the customer who is busy trying to accomplish something.
Does this kind of thing work only for big brands?
I have a customer that sells a popular home improvement product.
Though the product is impressive, high quality and reasonably priced, the product is not the story.
Making it easy for DIYers to protect what matters most to them, that’s the story.
DIYers are on a mission. They’re determined. They enjoy working on stuff. They’re the main character — the hero — we just get to be part of the supporting cast in their story.
So what’s the journey of the hero? Think about it; it’s usually the same.
Popeye needs to defeat Bluto.
Luke Skywalker needs to destroy the death star.
Katniss is trying to NOT die in the hunger games.
They all face a problem and turn to something or someone to help them overcome those challenges.
Luke Skywalker turns to Yoda.
Katniss turns to Haymich.
Popeye turns to Spinach.
Your customer is the hero, but you get to be Yoda.
In other words, you’re the guide.
Why is this important? Well, for years it’s been a standard marketing practice for companies to talk about themselves and cast their products and services as the hero. After all, a brand is a selfish thing.
“We’ve been serving the northern California region with high-quality products since 1902.”
“We’re disrupting blah blah blah.”
“We’re the best in class…”
Product and brand-centric statements like this are still too common. In fact, according to Kapost, “only 23% of B2B marketers claim to have a customer-centric marketing strategy versus a channel-or product-centric approach.”
That’s a huge opportunity!
Bottom line is this, companies that shift to being truly “customer-centric” are 60% more profitable than those who are not. That’s because the customer is more interested in what they need to accomplish and they want to align with businesses that get that.
Here’s my suggestion, grab a piece of marketing copy you currently share with customers and ask yourself these questions:
* Does this demonstrate that we get who they are?
* Does it paint a picture of the real challenges they face?
* Does it paint a picture of a future without those challenges?
* Does it give a solution for how those challenges could be addressed?
* Does it offer proof that others are experiencing these stated results?
* If a customer asked where your brand wants to take them, how would you answer?
When you cast the customer as the hero, you align yourself with their needs. That creates an incredible opportunity for you to join them in their pursuits and serve them with something relevant. While your competitors are busy trying to undercut the market or match your features, you can fortify your position in the mind of your customer by being their guide.