Marketing talks about benefits and value. You’re likely to be more successful if you market your product or service on customer benefits and the true value your customer gets from your product or service. Yet different customers look for different benefits.
If marketing wasn’t complicated enough, several different customers within the same company may be involved in the same purchasing decision. You need to highlight different benefits to the different customers.
I was chatting to Neil Lancaster from Deal With It ®, part of SOG Ltd, the owners of the Heath in Runcorn and Londoneast in Dagenham. Neil was telling me about how he approaches the challenge of marketing to different customers, with different needs, within the same company.
The Heath formerly belonged to ICI. A large chemical company needed to be big on health and safety. They realised that health and safety wasn’t just about compliance and hazard protection but also about the culture and behaviour of people. Deal With It ® provides specific, bespoke training based on a practical and unique model of improving health and safety by changing people’s beliefs and attitudes. I like Neil’s definition of Safety Culture – “The way we behave when no-one is looking”!
For Neil there are at least three customers within one company. These are the Health and Safety Officer, the Finance Director and the Managing Director. (Some of the needs are simplistic – this is just to illustrate the point.)
(I’ve used “he” only to simplify the text)
The Health and Safety Officer wants his job to be easier. He wants people to be safe. He wants people to comply with policies and procedures. He wants to increase the number of near misses reported and reduce the number of accidents.
The Finance Director wants the number of accidents to be less so the business will have fewer compensation claims and lower insurance premiums.
The Managing Director wants greater staff morale which will lead to increased productivity and quality. A happy workforce can achieve so much. He wants better compliance – to demonstrate that he is a good leader and he wants to reduce the risk of going to jail.
Neil’s initial approach tends to be to the Health and Safety Officer. He tends to have no budget or if he has it tends to be small. Neil has two “ins”. First is an online survey which can be used to monitor cultural health and safety behaviour. The second is a pilot course.
The first provides the evidence of the need. The second allows senior managers to be in the room not only to experience the programme but also to see how the results of the survey actually impact on them personally. The results of the survey can be cut many ways – appealing to the different customers.
Knowing your customer is vital to good marketing. Spending the time to understand their needs will make the job of selling much easier.