A consumer is generally defined as the one who pays to consume the goods and services produced by a seller (i.e., company, organization). A consumer can be a person (or group of people), generally categorized as an end-user or target demographic for a product, good, or service.
But you knew that already – nothing new there! But really, do you know who your consumer is and what they, him, her want? Me neither, and for the longest while I was in the dark.
Some may find the term or label “consumer” somewhat offensive because it can be construed as being more descriptive of plain consumption (black and white purchase), rather than recognizing the person behind the purchase, who typically has feelings, needs and overall importance.
Consumers are our customers and clients. Typically when business people and marketers talk of consumers they are talking about an individual person, an aggregated commodity item with little individuality other than that expressed in the buy/not-buy decision.
Now, there is a trend in marketing to individualize the concept of “A Consumer.” Rather than generating broad demographic profiles and psycho-graphic profiles of market segments (which has been the norm), marketers are now starting to engage in personalized marketing, permission marketing, and mass customization.
We’ll cover all of that in more articles in future articles but for right now, let’s address the elephant in the room.
What are your client’s present expectations?
Is your understanding of your consumers need a blank page?
Do they want to feel secure and relaxed? In everything.
A Validation and Regulatory Compliance Director purchasing your services wants to be sure that he will get the desired result.
Is your potential client searching for the best consultant service? Or are they looking for you or your company to provide:
- developing regulatory strategy and submissions
- direct access to on-call consulting support
- check monthly reports on health and environmental requirements, including the impact on their customers
And if something goes wrong your company should have a fast way of eliminating this problem.
Customers are very grateful to those who help them with their routine problems (both new and old) they can’t cope with on their own.
A customer often has no desire to go deep into the details of their biopharma or medical device that is being or has been commercialized until they know you are competent to explain how you’re going to assist their business to comply with local, global and regional health and environmental regulatory needs, which impact their products today in the future.
Let’s say for a moment you work for a professional services firm as a marketer or in business development and your company provides solutions to FDA-regulated industries. The decision of how to position your professional services firm is actually a collection of decisions made over time.
These choices become more strategic and more expensive as the firm grows, but they’re made at thousands of points along the way nonetheless.
The nature of these early client relationships establishes a precedent for the type of work and type of clientele the firm continues to service for years to come. And, rarely are those first client decisions strategic choices. In fact, usually the early clients of the firm aren’t really selected and attracted; they’re pursued and sold in a desire to survive.
Over time, the firm grows — adding new clients in new industries and applying new service remedies, which require different people and different skills. Along the way, the firm tells itself that it’s highly differentiated and well-positioned — after all the firm is growing and winning new clients. “We have better client service,” it says. “We do things better (faster, or cheaper) than the big boys! We’re more accommodating! We’re more flexible!”
One day the firm’s leadership looks around and asks itself a few difficult, yet fundamental questions. The questions themselves are never quite the same, but generally speaking, they sound something like this:
- How did we get in THIS business?
- Why are we providing THAT service?
- Why are we pursuing THOSE clients?
Who Are Your Consumers
With all of that said, if the fundamental goal of understanding who your client is and what they want, it’s helpful to understand how to attract high-value clients because your objective is to create awareness, interest and position your services more effectively. As an example of how competitive the professional services field is for FDA-regulated professional services firms, I performed a Google search on the topic of “Validation and Regulatory Compliance Consulting.” The resulting string yields over 1.3M hits.
People who are solo practitioners and small business owners who promote in my LinkedIn group, Validation and Regulatory Compliance Professionals, often asked me what kind of response I get from my posts. I tell them I have a distinct advantage of being the owner of the group for the past 11 years and over that time I’ve learned what my members want. They want job-related training in the form of blog articles, courses, seminars and webinars. They want career resources and information on well-being because they feel stressed by the demands of their jobs.
I also tell them that providing value and having a process where they can communicate that values will create interest in their services. That’s when the questions really start about how to better understand the needs of their clients.
I struggled with the same issues as many of the business owners in my group. I had reached out to hundreds of people who were posting with various offers but heard nothing from our members. When I began, I started with a mentality of selling instead of being curious which ended many conversations prematurely and impacted my credibility with my own members.
Here is the process I discovered to better understand my LinkedIn member’s needs.
Here you go…
- Before – After – Bridge:
Most effective for product descriptions. Identify the pain point your prospect is experiencing (and how their life looks like with this problem). Then, paint a picture of how their life could be after solving the problem.
Finally, bring it all together by detailing the steps required to remove their pain.
2) Features – Advantages – Benefits: Most effective for landing pages.
Open a sheet and in one column list the features of your product. In the next column, write the advantages related to that feature. Lastly, write the benefits of the advantages.
3) Addressing objections: Effective for sales pages and retargeting ads.
The more specific to your product the objection is, the better. Some common objections are:
- Not enough time.
- Not enough money.
- It won’t work for me.
4) Awareness – Comprehension – Conviction – Action: Best for sales pages and emails.
Present the problem. Help them understand why that problem matters. Create a desire for them to fix the problem. Invite them to take action.
ADDITIONAL ARTICLES ON UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOUR CUSTOMER WANTS
Here are some additional resources you may find useful