Marketing Automation Group
Share Your Thoughts!

Signal or Noise? How Do Your Help Your Customers Choose You?

Signal or Noise_You have a terrific product or service—and a lot of competition for the business. How do you help your target customer choose you?


My business is helping you identify, attract, and land the customers you want, to make the profit you need. As a small business owner, I know what works, and how to use marketing technology to steer business your direction, and keep it coming.


But when it gets down to it, how do you help your client hear your message, and understand your brand, through all the noise? It is not as hard as you think.


The dynamics of choice and marketing


A lot is written about the psychology of choice. Drill into the topic and you’ll find research looking at why people make the choices they do.


Understanding why people make choices is important. As small business owners, we want to know how to influence choice to get more business. Poor marketing and product lines mean your premium clients go elsewhere.


As a consumer, you know what it takes to convince you to buy. Taking that perspective is important when thinking about how to sell to your client base. Consider these points about the experience of choice:


  • Choice: It is important to do what you do best. If you sell one product, or one type of service, you need to be the absolute best and understand that you are working in a niche market. In a TED talk, author Malcolm Gladwell talks about choice—and spaghetti sauce. The take-home point is that there is no one kind of human, so offering few products, or services, could be a limiting factor to your business.


  • Too much choice: Plentiful research bolsters the belief that too much choice is not a good thing. Offering a dizzying array of information, products, or services is just that—dizzying. Chances are good you will land a customer if you have a lot of choice—just make sure the choice is presented in a way it can be consumed. Design your website with filters, make auto-suggestions, enable reviews, and offer pages with a limited number of products, to create a pathway to purchase in digestible bits.


  • Bias and other fine qualities: Your client approaches your business with pre-conceived ideas. How you present yourself, or your product, plays to their needs, fear, and identity. Humans place inordinate weight on the first information they receive about a person, place, or thing. If a good friend liked your restaurant, your new customer is predisposed to like it, too. If a client reads a negative review of the service you sell—you need to work harder to overcome that bias. If a customer is in need of basic information, your knowledge of your product—without an initial sales attempt—gives you a chance to create the image of a knowledgeable, trusted ally instead of a pushy salesperson.


Sales work is mostly psychology, with products mixed in. Know your customer, and know what you are really trying to sell.


To get to the sell, start at the beginning


Most people can sell something once. To profit and grow your business, you have to meet the needs of your customer repeatedly. Marketing hype has its place, but the bottom line is that you have to understand your business from the viewpoint of your customer.


There is a well-known story about the angel investor who kick-started Apple. Everyone starts somewhere and Apple founders, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, originally worked out of a garage. Their first investor was Mike Markkula. As the story goes, Mr. Markkula also wrote a three-part marketing platform that continues to serve this very successful company.


The three mandates written by Mr. Markkula in 1977 remain effective and include:


  • The quality of empathy: “We will truly understand their needs better than any other company.”
  • The ability to focus: “In order to do a good job of those things that we decide to do, we must eliminate all of the unimportant opportunities.”
  • Recognition of people to impute: “People DO judge a book by its cover. We may have the best product, the highest quality, the most useful software etc.; if we present them in a slipshod manner, they will be perceived as slipshod; if we present them in a creative, professional manner, we will impute the desired qualities.”


Take what we know about the science of choice, combine it with rock-solid marketing philosophy, and a great product, and you are on your way to small business success.


By understanding your own business, you can help your customer make a choice that benefits both of you. When you need help understanding the bottom-line of your business, call me at 585-633-7563, I can help.

Yours in profit,

Bob Britton

About the Author Bob Britton