What do Baby Showers Have in Common with Marketing?

Baby Shower Cupcakes

Image by clevercupcakes via Flickr

What does a baby shower have to do with marketing or identifying your customers’ needs?  Isn’t that just a chance to buy gifts, talk to your friends, and eat?

Not so fast.

A long time ago, I went to a friend’s baby shower. She’d just had a baby girl (who is now an adult).

All of her other friends got her lots of lacy dresses for the baby.  There was a bassinet full of bows.  It was a sea of pink, lacy, frilly, conventionally girly gifts.

Know your customer

I, on the other hand, got her something completely different. It was a sporty outfit from The Gap. I think it may have come with baby-sized sunglasses.

Why? Because I knew my “customer.” My friend just wasn’t a ruffles and lace kinda gal. She hated all those frills.

Her other friends got her what they liked. I got her something she would like.

On another occasion, I bought a then-colleague a baby outfit with an abstract purple and orange print. I hated it. She knew it too (my dislike of purple is legendary).  However, she loved it (and I knew she would).  She also appreciated that I got her something I knew she would like (even though I didn’t like it at all).

Appeal to them (not yourself)

It’s OK to do what you like if your audience is just like you (for example, you’re a geek marketing to other geeks). However, if you’re a geek marketing to lawyers, you’ll need to understand what lawyers want and need. You’ll have to learn to speak a bit of legalese, and watch your use of tech speak.

You may be excited about new server software. The lawyer just wants to know that her network will stop crashing. Sell the software as a solution to the crashing, not as super-cool new software with redundant backups and offsite mirroring.

See the difference?

How to identify customer needs and wants

In the case of my friend and colleague, I simply paid attention and listened.  For clients, your approach has to be a bit different.

First, start listening to their questions.  What comes up over and over about your product? Are there particular features that they like? What do they have trouble using?  Is there a new feature they’d like to see?

  • Try sending out a brief survey and ask them what they want.
  • Review the tech support questions you get and develop new features (or change old ones).
  • If you have a sign up process, go through it yourself. Identify any speed bumps your customers may be experiencing.
  • Use an ideal customer profile, to guide your decisions.  If you don’t have one, make one.  This will help focus your marketing too.

Know what they want, and give it to them. They’ll love you for it. They’ll stay longer too.