Who Is Your Customer?
We talked about applying the archetype and narrative template, sort of the story template, of a hero's journey to your customers. Which then allows you to start envisioning ways in which you, your product, your service, your people can become the mentor aide, guide, or tool along their journey. And we've talked a lot about inserting progress triggers and removing points of resistance along your customer's journey. Doing that with content, doing that with marketing, or doing that with your product. In order to do that though you do have to first actually rethink and understand your customer deeply. So your customer is not just the people who pay you currently for your product. Again if you're looking to reach customers beyond the existing customer base that you have, you have to understand people beyond the existing customer base that you have. And I know that seems super, it seems obvious. But you know about things that seem obvious. (chuckles) THey're not obvious. And I know they're n...
ot obvious because I talk to a lot of companies who've only ever done customer research with their existing customers, right? So think about your customer as a broader group, it's your target customers. But it's even broader than that. Your customer is actually any human or nonhuman, pet, however, whoever your serve, anyone that is dealing with, facing, trying to solve, the problem that your company exists to solve is the way I want you to think about your customer. Now it's kind of a prerequisite to do this rethink before you can get to a place where you're doing the kind of customer research that allows you to understand their motivations and the content and the messages that will bring them to you and reactivate them. You can't go there until you've rethought you customer in this way. Key to rethinking your customer is to define the problem, right? If your customer is anyone who's dealing with a problem that you exist to solve, you gotta define your problem and define it from a big picture, human scale perspective. All right? The problem that you're solving it's not trying to get people to buy what you sell. (laughs) I've literally work shopped this before with groups where people are like my problem is people will not buy my thing. And I'm like that is your problem. That is not the customers problem right? There is something big picture and kind of inspirational that your company exists to help change in the world. And the idea here is to find that and articulate that in a way that allows you to start tapping into the deeper motivations of the people who have that problem. So let's talk about a couple of examples. You, one, might say that Slack is a group chat platform, group chat technology. Slack has said that what they feel like the problem is they solve is they help make people more productive and collaborative at work. Right? And those are very different things right? At Trulia, Trulia is a real estate search engine. And to some people that means it's about home finding. But we truly, deeply, inside talked about constantly the problem we are trying to solve is how do we help people make smart real estate decisions? How do I help people make smart decisions about their biggest purchase ever? Now when I first got to MyFitnessPal, we were talking about weight loss a lot. That was just kind of the category we saw ourselves as being in. But we sat down and in the process of thinking about vision and mission and who we wanted to even attract in as employees, we decided we needed to get tighter and more big picture and human in the way we were talking about the problem we existed to solve. So we decided, as I mentioned before, to go after the problem of how do we right and reverse the dynamics? How do we actually make it easier to be healthy than it is to be unhealthy? And so to do that we basically had to redefine our customer not just as people who are trying to lose weight but as anyone who's trying to be healthier than they were before. That was how we ended up defining our customer especially for purposes of customer research and customer journey mapping and then product development. Anyone who was trying to be healthier than they were before was someone we considered a capital C customer. Whether they had our app or not. Now when you rethink your customer you must, you can't rethink your customer without becoming an expert on their journey.