HomeBlog What Love Taught Me About Customers

What Love Taught Me About Customers

January 23, 2015 | By John Donlon

  • Marketing content must be written in a way that appeals to the buyer audience, using terminology that buyers understand
  • Identifying buyer personas and understanding their attributes and preferences are the keys to effective messaging and content
  • Marketers must never be complacent about gaining insight into what will resonate with buyers and customers

Hey, who wants to get goofy? A few years ago, a colleague told me that, he and his wife, in the interest of strengthening their relationship, had attended a seminar based on Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. Anyone familiar with these five languages? No? Let me give the nickel tour, then:

CustomersThe idea behind Chapman’s book is that there are five ways that people express and experience love: gifts, quality time together, acts of service, words of affirmation and physical touch. By the way, I like how that last one is literally true – just sitting next to each other on the couch with your legs touching counts as physical touch.

Think for a moment about what your preferred “love language” is. Do you love getting gifts? Does a “hey, you look great today” do it for you? Does it go a long way when your partner puts away the dishes? By the way, you can have more than one language, and many people do.

OK, now think about how you express love to your partner. (I swear we’ll get to marketing soon.) Do you tend to express love the same way you like to experience it? If you love gifts, are you a gift-giver? If you like physical touch, is that what you tend to do (or, at least, suggest)?

Well, if so, aha – you’ve just fallen into a classic trap. According to Chapman, the point is not to speak in the love language that floats your own boat, but to understand what tickles the “aww” bone in your partner’s body and express your affection that way.

So, finally, turning this back to marketing, how often have you seen a communication to a prospect or customer get derailed because it was written in a way designed to appeal to the content consumer, but then someone decided he needed to rewrite the whole thing in a tone that made more sense to him?

Instead of letting that happen, make sure all of your communications speak your prospects’ and customers’ languages. Know your personas! Know what resonates with them! And speak to them that way!  Every. Single. Time. Oh, and don’t be so pig-headed that you think you know what they want… go ask them!

If you believe all the rhetoric, 2015 is the Year of the Customer (as if pleasing the customer was actually ever out of style?). Anyway, the point is, be fearless when it comes to discovering what it will take to be able to interact with your prospects and customers in a way that you know will tickle their (professional) “aww” bone. You might just forge a better relationship because of it.

John Donlon

John Donlon is a Senior Research Director for Marketing Operations at SiriusDecisions. A recognized thought leader in marketing operations, he has over 20 years of experience in information technology, process improvement, and measurement and reporting. Follow John on Twitter at @SiriusJD.

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