Marketing Mischief: You are not your Customer

MK here.  I am working on a new business with a global
team.   
We are a diverse group.  We are millennia’s, genXs and boomers.  We are British, Chinese, American and
Canadian.  We are diverse in culture,
education and gender.  Just like our
target market.
Yesterday I was talking to one of the leaders
about the product offering and in his gentlemanly British accent he told
me:  “I just can’t get my head
around it.  I won’t be willing to use our
service that way.”
Now, what is important to understand is that my
business partner in this venture is a 50+ year-old school administrator and
math teacher.  In fact, he is a genius in
both regards.
But, our customer is small ecommerce business
owner. 
The market research shows they are traditionally
25-40 and 50% are female.  They are
dealing with all the traditional challenges of small business, including
managing product inventory, cash flow and currency exchange.  At this particular moment, these are all
amplified by the Q4 rush,  pending
holidays. 
A highly destructive challenge in start-ups is
thinking YOU are the customer. 
It’s easy to solve a problem for yourself but ah
the mischief…. YOU are not your CUSTOMER.
Solving a problem for someone else is hard.  It requires putting yourself in their shoes —understanding
their business, their challenges and their preferences. 
Here is the mischief.  Too often in early stage companies the
product team or development will solve the technical problem in a way that
works for them. 
That’s great, only we are here to solve the
problem for the customers not ourselves. 
Look for the mischief in your product design,
product development and user experience. 
Your female customers don’t think like your male developers.
Most importantly, when someone is shutting down
an idea, listen to how they are relating to the product.  If their comments begin with “I just can’t get my head around
it”, or “I would never….”, just remind them:

You are not your CUSTOMER.

 
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