I was reading an article the other day discussing how to “elevate your game” to top your business competitors. Like so many others, the article overlooked the crucial point of focusing on your customers.
I always ask clients, “What’s in it for the customer?” Most of the time their response is focused on their particular product or service, how awesome it is, how it will disrupt the market, how it will make them a rockstar, (insert other trendy buzzword here) blah, blah, blah…
But it’s not about what you are selling or providing, it’s about serving the need the customer has – scratching their proverbial itch. And many times that itch isn’t a known or universal among your markets.
More than 25 years ago when I was on a business trip to South Dakota, I remember being horrified when out at dinner in a relatively nice place that there were men eating dinner with their hats on! OK, you laugh now but over the years, I’ve seen worse. And it’s getting worser. (If you can wear a hat in a restaurant, I can make up words.)
I got a great email over the weekend from a young Charleston entrepreneur. I had reached out to him to see if his emerging company needed marketing communications support. He responded back thanking me for the offer, saying he already had some in-house PR folks but would keep us in mind if they ever needed additional help.
Many real businesses tend to focus too much on fast growth and the quick sale. Its hard not too – especially in the case of startups, anxious to show a return on investment and get the books from red to black. Yes, CSR has put a big dent in the number of pure-profit oriented organizations. But for many companies, there is a limit to how far principles and CSR will go when it comes to the bottom line. And consumers are still skeptical of some CSR claims as mere PR gimmicks.