When you’re designing your business you must first have a clear picture of the customer.  No doubt.  That means you’re constantly talking with people about what they need, about what they’re looking for, about their hopes.  And based on their understanding of the world you’re developing a strategy to meet those needs.  At least, if you want to attract new users you’ve got to be aware of their interests.

Interesting what many of us do.  We think about the situation from our own perspective.  And then design a program or service to meet our own needs (or one that won’t inconvenience our team too much) and then we’re either resigned to the outcome (they’re too hard to reach anyway) or we’re disappointed with the outcome (why won’t they respond?).

Seth Godin had a great post today about the need for marketers to see the world as it is and being clear on what the world really wants.  I love his first point: "Do the work necessary to be sure that your perception of the world is similar to the world as it is."  If we’re going to do the necessary work to be sure our perception of the world is based on reality…what would we have to do?  For starters, we’d have to be listening to the customer.  Really listening.  Think listening to the customer would change the way you’re offering what you’re offering (or even what you’re offering)?  For many of us it would require some serious thinking about who our customer is.  Is your customer the people who are already buying what you’re selling?  Or are you trying to reach a new market?  If the new market could be reached with the same old design wouldn’t it already be working for you?  Are you really ready to reach a new market?  Then you’ll need to see the world as it really is.

Seth’s last line is a little chilling for those who fail to do the work necessary to perceive the world as it really is.  He writes that "by focusing on what they want, or by having a selfish view of things, they miss the reality of what the world believes."  A lack of relevance is frightening for the small business.  Scared?

Out.

Out. 

Understanding the Times