Marketing Trends, Best Practices, Advice

Keys to Thinking Like Your Customer

Tina Hutzelman
Marketing - Best Practices


Key 1:  Realize it’s not always comfortable.

When you practice customer-centric thinking, you must be willing to face a cold, hard truth: Your customers probably don’t care about your product the way you think they do.

Nobody said your customers don’t care what your offering can help them achieve. Rather, they probably don’t care about your actual product, the way you hope they would. Now that’s a big pill to swallow if you believe your product or service is the reason customers do business with you.


Although Stan the Stickman bought new computers for his company’s warehouse in Atlanta and main office in Tallahassee what he really wanted was employees to work cooperatively, in realtime, as if they were in the same place. Why? Because his company’s success was built on responsiveness and exceptional customer relations.

You might be thinking, “I beg to differ – my customers care about my products! Some of my customers have been with me for years, and besides, my product is the best in the market because it has A, B, and C features.” The danger of this type of thinking is you may find yourself communicating from a very product-centric perspective.

Key 2: Understand it’s about supply and demand.

At the most fundamental level, sales and marketing are all about supply and demand. Companies need to associate their supply with customer demand.

Eugene Schwartz, lauded by the New York Times as having written “some of the most celebrated lines in direct-mail advertising,” understood this principle and wrote about it in his book Breakthrough Advertising. According to Schwartz,

"Mass desire must already be there. It must already exist. You cannot create it, and you cannot fight it. But you can – and must – direct it, channel it, focus it onto your particular product."

Interestingly, Schwartz wrote Breakthrough Advertising in 1966. Yet his observations are still as valid today as they were when he made them over half a century ago. Why? Because his observations were based on human behavior, not on the latest advertising, marketing, or communication trends.

Key 3: Tap into Mass Desire.

By tapping into mass desire, you can maximize your sales and marketing budget because you leverage momentum that already exists within your target audience. Depending on whether your company is B-2-B or B-2-C, that momentum could be driven by a variety of desires.

Common B-2-B desires: Common B-2-C desires:

>> Reduce downtime

>> Increase efficiency

>> Maximize productivity

>> Improve safety and security

>> Increase capacity

>> Save time

>> Simplify life

>> Provide hope

>> Build self-esteem

>> Entertain

Once you identify which desires motivate your customers, you need to build a bridge between those desires and how your product (or service) fulfills them. 

In our next newsletter we will address some steps to take to bridge this gap.

About Tina Hutzelman

Tina Hutzelman is a marketing professional who helps companies discover their true value - that unique "something" that sets them apart from their competition. For over 20 years, Tina has helped companies tell their stories in a way that is relevant to their customers. One of her favorite questions is "what are you really selling?" She's found that many executives think they are selling the best widget around, when actually they are selling efficiency, shorter time to market, or greater potential for profit. When she's not at work, Tina enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

Customer Focused Communication Marketing Best Practices