Developing a website or other marketing piece? Everyone has their role.
The company CEO or manager provides input (from an insider’s point-of-view). The designer arranges the content elements (from a visual design point-of-view). The SEO specialist provides keywords (from Google’s point-of-view). And the copywriter composes the content (typically trying to reconcile all three).
Can you guess what’s missing? Who else is a player in this scenario? In fact, whose point-of-view is the only one that ultimately matters?
Well, the website visitor, of course. The person who will decide, from their own point-of-view, whether to click the Buy button or the Back button. Statistically, in the great majority of cases, it’s the latter one.
Maybe part of the reason is that nobody on the development team really truly looked at what was important to them, what they‘re trying to avoid, and their true role here – from their own point-of-view.
What’s the solution? Perhaps include a Customer Advocate on the team to do just that. To dig deeper, beyond the product benefits, product features, and whatever it is the company wants to say about itself.
Already created a customer persona? That’s a good start. But try going beyond the peripheral factors that often dominate that imaginary profile, like how much they make or their family life.
Instead, what is the company’s “one customer” really trying to achieve? Sure, on the surface, a company buyer is trying to fulfill a company need. But what other pressures are they under? Time and cost pressures? Pressures from their firms’ competitors, or from colleagues? What questions are they asking? What issues are they stuck on? Why exactly is it that they haven’t resolved the issue yet?
Those are the questions the assigned Customer Advocate needs to ask. Then they need to find a credible way to connect those real-world considerations to the product’s real-world advantages. Sure, research is an option, if the budget is there. But research doesn’t always cover what’s going on deeper in the buyer’s head.
So how do you get there? There’s a good chance that the CEO doesn’t deal with customers anymore on a day-to-day basis. But others at their company do continually listen to the questions, concerns and below-the-surface issues that their customers, bless their hearts, are trying to navigate.
So maybe the sharpest salesperson or CSR at the company should sit in, and pipe in, during the input interview. And the development team’s Customer Advocate can join in on the writer’s side of the line.
In a better scenario, the Customer Advocate and the writer are same person. In fact, in the best scenario, every team member is a Customer Advocate, as it relates to their own role.
When initially presenting the new copy or website to the client, ask them to mentally wear the shoes of their customer during their first read-through. Sometimes, they ‘get it,’ finally understanding what their products really mean to people. Sometimes they don’t, unable to separate themselves from the insider perspective that has served them in every other aspect of their job.
True enough, balancing internal project considerations with practical and emotional factors from within the buyer’s own universe is hard. But as I have been known to say, if it were easy, they wouldn’t call it work.
If the team isn’t creating a website or other marketing to appeal to the client’s customer, then they’re simply creating it to appeal to the client. In terms of effectively accomplishing the goal of attracting, engaging and converting customers, that’s called an epic fail. Does that happen? All. The. Time.
The thing to realize, is that by doing a more thorough job of understanding the customer’s needs, the company’s needs get satisfied by default. And that’s why every marketing team needs a Customer Advocate.
Need someone who can play both the writer and Customer Advocate Roles? Let’s talk it through.
About the Author: Tom Tortorici is an Atlanta copywriter and web content writer who helps companies make a genuine connection with their audience. His classes and conference presentations have focused on how writing, strategy and design can work together to grab attention and interest even among readers with short attention spans. In addition to working directly with businesses, Tom regularly partners with web designers and marketing agencies.
Tom Tortorici Inc. | Tom@TomTortorici.com | 770-934-7861 | 3101 Rockaway Rd | Atlanta GA 30341