Using Customer Development To Hack Growth

This blog post is dedicated to “Customer Development” which I describe as the act of building your perspective “customer” in your mind before you launch your campaigns. Think of creating a human being out of thin-air, this person doesn’t exist in reality but instead he/she exists only in creative mind of “you” the marketer.

The following are the steps in a successful  “Customer Development”  strategy.

(1) A Deep Understanding of Customer Demographics

Facebook is the real deal here. If you currently have a Facebook fan page, the best way to find your marketing demographics is to look up the demos of your fan page aka location, gender, social-economic scale etc.

I like to create an excel chart, charting out my demographics.

If you are in the early stages of your marketing campaign, I like to leverage Quancast for my demographic research. You can do this one of two ways, either place the Quantcast pixel on all of your site’s pages and Quantcast will deliver you your site demographics or very simply look up the demographics of your competitors.

This is mainly just to provide a basis of “who” are the groups of people most likely to buy your product.

(2) Ability to Speak Their Language

How do you create ads or content that talks to these people in their own words?

I do this is two ways:

(A) I go on “Yahoo Answers” and “Quora” and I make an excel spreadsheet of all the answers that people are using in their own words. I then take these answers and either replicate them in my future ad copy and or I replicate them in the content that we put out.

(B) I create a real Facebook account with the features of the user of my product.

I then “like” all pages that Facebook is suggesting me to “like”. This is a really awesome way to see the world through the eyes of your perspective customer. This tactic has gave unheard insight into the way my perspective customer thinks because then I start thinking like them.

(3) Understand the problems that they are having with Competitors

I like to make a list of my 4 closest competitors, very simple. I then start reading and take notes on both what customers love about our competitors as well as what they complain about.

I take all this information and map it out into a venn diagram with a picture of a person. I get rather creative with it.

(4) Medium or how do I reach this person?

My goal here is to find the “medium” to which my consumer is most likely to purchase a product or be influenced by my brand. After building a real person on social media and seeing the ways brands are interacting with me, I now can most likely figure out where/how this person is most likely to buy my product.

This stage isn’t about finding traffic sources or negotiating ad buys but instead just more or less mapping out the customer path in how they are going to engage with my product in the future.

I like to rationalize why one area specifically is more preferred to the other. For instance, in the past with one of my consulting clients they were advertising a new line of women’s shoes. I came to the conclusion that most likely a female age 18-26 is most likely going to make a shoe purchasing decision based on the influence of people in their current network and other influencers that they trust and respect.

So in essence social marketing with blogger outreach, mixed in with Facebook ads targeting friends of those people who already liked the shoes was the first initial “mediums” in building legitimacy for the shoe brand.

(5) Who are the main people that Influence Buying Power?

Traction= trust, I am firm believer in this statement. I like to find out for each major people segment, which blogs they read and which people they follow. I also want to figure out why they follow these people specifically follow these people.

I again would create a diagram to show each of these influencers. I try to find and study five main influencers.

Upon completing all these steps, I now have developed a real human being. I see what they’re pains are, who they like and follow and who they will continue to listen to. This research is a pretense to what lies ahead and that is campaign execution.

Steve Weiss

Steve Weiss