What customers want – no sausages for you
It was a simple request. ‘Do you make up family packs of meat?’
The answer from my local butcher was a resounding ‘no’.
I persisted, after all I had been a regular customer for more than four years: ‘I’d be happy to take what ever is on special that week. Secondary cuts of meat, anything really and commit to ongoing purchases’.
‘No. We don’t do family packs. You can just buy whatever is on the shelf.’ (said in a very stern voice)
Taken aback, and feeling a little admonished, I quickly grabbed the first couple of items I could find on the shelf, paid and got out of there, tail between my legs.
From a personal point of view the situation was quite frustrating.
I’m a busy mum and I like to buy my groceries and meat in bulk. I also like to support my local butcher, so asking for a family pack was a no brainer for me. Not so for the butcher.
From a marketing perspective the whole situation was plain complexing. As far as I could see, it was nothing but a lost opportunity for the business.
Of course every business has and should have the right to dictate their products and services, but if you don’t listen to your customers and don’t take a ‘marketing’ approach to your business, you do it at your own peril.
Marketing ideas can come from many places.
Typically you can identify marketing opportunities by conducting market research, monitoring your competitors or reviewing sales figures.
However one of the easiest and most effective methods of identifying marketing ideas and opportunities is to listen to your customers.
What do your customers want?
If you are truly receptive to new marketing opportunities and ideas, your customers will give them to you – and the beauty of it is that if you have your listening ears on, you shouldn’t even have to come out and ask them.
Customers will often tell you what they want without prompting and if you listen carefully, you can create powerful opportunities for your business and ultimately make more sales.
Not every suggestion or a request from a customer is going to be worthwhile considering, but plenty of ideas are.
The key to this is taking a ‘marketing’ approach to your business, rather than a ‘selling’ approach.
What I mean by this is, ‘selling’ involves having an existing product or service and promoting what you already have to obtain sales. A ‘marketing’ approach means to refine or develop new products or services to meet market demands or target new markets – then of course sell them.
Using this approach means you are continually evolving, monitoring your internal and external environment and listening to customers.
Just because I only want to sell ‘X, Y and Z’ products, doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘X, Y and Z’ is what the market wants and will buy. You need to give customers what they want, unless they really aren’t the types of customers you’re looking for.
This brings me back to the butcher example. You may think, maybe the butcher doesn’t want customers like me – local mums buying meat for their families.
This could be the case, but for them they’ve lost an obvious opportunity. The butcher is located directly across the road from a school and I can tell you with all honesty if they had offered me a family pack of meat, I would have gone to school and told every mum I know about it.
Now though, I am looking for an alternative option. The convenience of having a family pack of high quality meat, outweighs for me the convenience of being just around the corner. I will happily travel now to the next suburb or further afield just to get my family pack of meat, which I will then in turn tell everyone about.
So are you giving customers what they want? Or are you giving them what you think they want? Or worse still are you guilty of giving them what you think they should want?