Why understanding your customer is key to marketing
7 July 2017 - Louis Howell

“The aim of marketing is to understand the customer so well that the product fits him, or her, and sells itself.” ~ Peter Drucker


Louis Howell, Founder of Exponential Marketing.

Louis Howell, Founder of Exponential Marketing.

Does a product or service sell itself? Can a product or service sell itself? Will YOUR product or service sell itself?

These are interesting questions, and by highlighting them, I’m not meaning to take anything away from sales people – I love sales people. But there are some occasions when marketing is executed so well, that buyers will literally come running.

If we look at the quote by Peter Drucker subjectively, therefore, it isn’t the “sells itself” part that’s interesting, but rather the “understand the customer” element.

When we look at the business world, we know that companies and businesses are always going to be at different stages of existence. And amongst all this variation, there are always some that are looking for a quick way to market themselves and sell as much as they ca,n with no thought put toward sustainable growth or long-term progression.


I’ll give you three examples:

  1.   The start-up company

Don’t get me wrong we have all been there, or have seen it happen, where we whip up a quick promo video and blast it out on social media then HOPE that the inbound enquiries come flying our way.

  1.   Been around a while, had some growth

Not always do we see this happen, but there are many examples of companies that are at this stage of their journey and the focus goes to … AUTOMATION and TARGETING. Now don’t get me wrong these tactics are useful, but they must be used as part of a much wider strategy and marketing operation.

  1.   The big company that is experiencing some stagnation

Now, these companies can have a slight upper hand as they can leverage the previous success that they have had in building the brand (hopefully) and the company’s status as a big player. However, the idea that a killer advertising campaign, PR stunt or short-term partnership will be enough to STAY ON TOP is ever so slightly naïve in this modern day.

Something we must accept and embrace is that marketing is an ongoing process and requires a variation in output. Why? So that we can show the customer we truly do “understand them”.

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Let’s give you three quick reasons to add detail to this:

  • Multiple touchpoints – with such a range of platforms and an innumerable number of avenues that people are using to gain information, network, be social and be entertained, we must consider the different touchpoints that people will have to our businesses. From social media to events,  forums, blog posts, and the website. There are so many ways for people to be able to see and absorb your message and your benefit to them.
  • Consumer habits – as much as we like to think that everyone is following the current trend, the truth is that some methods of communication are still going to be more appealing to some people than to others. Not everybody likes the same things at a buffet restaurant, and that’s ok, but more often than not, we go to the buffet restaurant because we know everyone will usually find SOMETHING they do like. So are we producing written content? Video content? Imagery? Memes? Physical material? Or even just a polite, but powerful, pitch when we meet someone?
  •  Perception and value add – the first one, perception, almost sounds slightly devious at times. But the truth is, we should use the tools and avenues available to us that will portray us a big and beautiful brand even whilst we are still a small company – because if you know you can add value to potential customers, then why not? That brings us on to the value add, considering we have use of these tools and platforms, then we should see this as an opportunity to keep adding value and showing our potential customers that we do understand them.


That brings us on to the value add, considering we have use of these tools and platforms, then we should see this as an opportunity to keep adding value and showing our potential customers that we do understand them.

The reason we, at Exponential Marketing, have created our programmes, and our services in such a holistic way is because we want to help the companies, that we genuinely care so much about, to be able to market themselves in a way that is successful, sustainable and strategic.

In some ways there is almost a clear 3-step process that comes with understanding your customer and then adding value: LISTEN to the market and the challenges people face or where the gaps are; CREATE the content, experiences, and products that people will find valuable and then RESPOND to the market by adding this value and taking on board feedback.

Our new series of articles, released weekly will be based on interviews with founders and directors of startups and small businesses, looking at any challenges they have faced with their marketing and how they got over it. Should you be based in London and want to be showcased then get in touch with us.

NOT TO BE MISSED: For anyone starting, running or working with a small business that would like to learn more about how to get their marketing right in this early stage that is so crucial to your company, we have an answer for you. We are putting the final touches on a free online course that we call the Marketing Blueprint for Small Business: 8 key areas of marketing to set you up for success. As it is new, and we love to explore how we are helping the businesses we care so much about, we’d love for you to take full advantage of this giveaway and let us know how it adds value to your business.

For both of the offers above, you can e-mail [email protected] or connect with Louis Howell on Linkedin.