who cares what you like


When I was in advertising one of my more interesting experiences was presenting a series of new brand identity options to a client. It was interesting because it was inevitable exciting and frustrating at the same time.

It was exciting because I was presenting something my firm had created and I was, most often, proud of. It was frustrating because the response of so many clients, and in particular the less aware of them was – ‘I like this – I don’t like this – I hate this – I love this……’.

I found this response frustrating because in the end event, it should never be about what they like or dislike – and should always be about what the customer and potential customer will respond to in the desired manner. Making it even more frustrating – so many clients assumed that the customer would have likes and dislikes as them, that the customer would analyse the logo the way they do and that the customer will necessarily respond on the basis of likes and dislikes.

To me this story highlights two critical issues:

  • The problem of subjective thinking.
  • A lack of client focus.

One of the most important tools in marketing is objective thinking – the ability to make decisions without emotion and subjectivity, on the basis of the available evidence.

Customer focus – or being passionate about the clients perspectives and reactions was the subject of my last article and its importance is highlighted again here.

You and your customer are not a homogeneous group. You do not think the same, have access to the same information, react the same or live with the same parameters. So what makes you think that they think like you or will respond like you.

So often I hear business people say – ‘I would like to think my customers want….”. Well I don’t care what you would like to think and neither should they. It is like saying you would like to think there is an afterlife. There is or there isn’t and what you would like to think matters not at all.

So often I hear business people respond to a question about the thinking behind a decision – ‘it just felt right’! Well who cares how it feels and relying on how it feels is a recipe for burning a bunch of cash. Decisions should be made on the basis of evidence and the better the evidence – the more robust will be the decision.

This all highlights the importance of:

  • Market research.
  • Behavioural insights.

I would argue that these ate three of the most important resources in marketing because they provide the data that allows decisions to be made more objectively.

No tags