Chasm Remains Between What Customers Want and What Marketers Deliver

Chasm remains between customers and marketersThe gap between marketer's perceptions of how well they are doing and how customers feel remains incredibly large and dangerous.
According to IBM’s "Listening to the Customer: 7 New Research Findings", "almost 90 percent of marketers agree that personalizing the customer experience is critical to their success. Despite this…nearly 80 percent of consumers stated that the average brand doesn’t understand them as an individual."
And, according to a brand study by Bain & Company the characteristics of winning brands center around the cultivation of deep understanding:
  • Winning companies invest to understand what can truly bring new users to their brand
  • They rely on deep insights about consumers to guide innovations
  • Winners build brand memorability by steadily and repeatedly reinforcing and nurturing the brand around consumer-relevant needs and occasions.
Vitamix – Uses Customer Understanding to Grow
As a 95 year old company, Vitamix continues to be one of the most trusted blenders and a market leader in a very competitive industry. They attribute growth rates of up to 52% to understanding that their customer is at the heart of everything they do.
According to Jodi Berg, fourth generation President and CEO of Vitamix, here are a few of their guiding principles:
  • "We really feel the best way to get new customers is to never lose a customer we already have … We focus on customer retention by building relationships with them."
  • "We have a philosophy that we aren't actually hiring a new customer when we sell a machine, we are hiring a new salesperson."
  • "We would only reach out to you if we felt you were a good candidate to hear our message."
  • "At the leadership level, you make sure everyone understands the direction you're going. You stay focused, align everything you're doing in the organization to set the playing field."
  • After we develop strategic objectives, we go back to the team and say "How does this feel? Does this work? Do you understand it? Does it make sense? Will you be able to apply it so that people know whether we're on track or not?"
  • "We do a lot of market research and have a lot of conversations with our customers. We focus on understanding what the challenges are and what is really happening in stores. We also know what people are eating, how they are eating and how they want to interact with the machine, and we work on those challenges."
3 TakeAways
1. Marketers must create tactics that define the brand message, not dilute it. However, in the IBM Trend report, "Listening to the Customer: 7 New Research Findings" it was noted that there is "a massive perception gap between how well businesses think they are marketing and the actual customer’s experience."
2. Consumers need to clearly and quickly understand brand advantage when faced with a purchasing decision. When brands are side by side in the moment of a purchase decision, it is perception and understanding that will sway a consumer towards or away from your brand.
3. Brand identity needs to be inline with consumer values. Brand marketing needs to be deeply rooted in consumer-relevancy to present a unified, clear brand statement that is not only understandable—but also acceptable to their core concerns.
If consumers do not have a clear understanding of who you are as a brand, then they have no awareness of what you are trying to sell to them. Equally important, if you do not have a laser focused understanding of your core audience then message relevancy is impossible.