Human beings spend most of our lives looking for meaningful relationships. We crave them from our parents and family members the moment we’re born, we work to cultivate them as friendships as we grow to become adults, and there are multi-billion dollar companies formed around creating meaningful romantic relationships. Why is it, then, that most businesses create shallow or false relationships? Relationships that are one-sided and serve to achieve short-term goals?
Foster Life-Long Customers
When organizations seek to understand people at a human level and figure out what motivates them, they foster life long relationships, not just short-term customers.
As most individuals in the western world have reached the social or ego stages of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, they’re searching to be loved, to have a sense of belonging, and have feelings of prestige and recognition…and as consumers are becoming ever more wary of being “sold to”, they continue to connect to their human need of wanting to have meaningful relationships – to be a part of a larger community of like-minded people.
If a brand is able to connect with the consumer’s core values and reflect who they are, they will find a customer. “This relationship further evolves as consumers develop trust in the brand, which can lead to infatuation. At this point, they feel that a specific brand contributes to their personal betterment [and the betterment of the world], and they experience feelings of affection, appreciation, and even obsession.” Marketing Land
Create Meaningful Experiences
You have a product or service that you presume to offer intrinsic value, but what is the sum of the extrinsic value that you could provide?
Partners. Is there another business or group of businesses you could partner with to complete the experience your customers are truly looking for?
Events. Can you find ways to physically interact with your customers outside of a shopping experience, or to make their shopping experience one of a kind?
Services. Are there additional services you could provide that would further reach your defined purpose, and at the same time better fulfill your customers needs?
Service. How can you improve your customer service? You should always be asking this question.
Create memorable experiences by being willing to break the rules or travel outside of the lines to drive real results and lasting memories for your customers.
Get Up Close and Personal
Find your perfect customer, ask them a load of questions to learn all the things that make them tick. Don’t just stick with the safe, business/brand questions, really get in there.
- What do you love?
- What sets your heart on fire?
- What really makes you angry?
- What is your best memory?
- Where would you travel if money wasn’t an issue and you could go for a month?
- What stops you from going there?
- Describe your family.
- Describe a perfect 3-day weekend.
- Who are your closest friends, and why?
If you can get a couple of people to answer these types of questions honestly for you, you probably already have some loyal customers. Be sure to ask them why. 🙂 If that’s a bit too much for you, look at the data you can gather and try to figure out the answers to these questions. A great option would be to perform an anonymous, paid survey to a group that you believe to be your target demographic. The more you know the ins and outs of your audience, the better you will get at pleasing them. It’s easier for you to purchase a gift for your best friend, than a distant cousin, right?
Build a Brand that People Love
Once you know who you’re working with, you create meaningful experiences based on the things they truly care about, and you can provide a product or service that meets their needs, the next step is to stay consistent and find more ways and reasons for your customers to talk about you. After all, if a customer is actively advocating for your brand, it’s more powerful than any advertising you could do on your own.
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter.
— Izaak Walton