Tell a better brand story by understanding customer motivation

By Cathy Colliver

Courier-Journal Media, USA TODAY NETWORK

Louisville, Kentucky, USA


Whether you are taking a look at your content audience (subscribers and casual readers) or your advertising clients, it makes a big difference in marketing your news media company if you really get to know your customers and potential customers.

Learning more about your customers, and understanding what motivates them, can help you tell a better brand story about how you make their lives easier.

Understanding what interests and motivates customers helps companies deliver better products and services.
Understanding what interests and motivates customers helps companies deliver better products and services.

I’m not talking demographics, as interesting as slicing and dicing demographic customer data can be.

The two pieces of customer information crucial to a marketing strategy are:

  • Understanding why your customers use your product or service.
  • Understanding your customers’ diverse interests and habits.

In this blog post, we will focus on the first item. In my next post, we will focus on the second.

How are you making your customers’ lives easier?

As you delve into a better understanding of why your customers use your product or service, you are likely to find yourself asking a lot of questions:

  • What need is my product or service filling?
  • How does it accomplish that?
  • What do my customers love about my product?
  • What do they hate about my product?

How do you find this information?

Even small companies can start somewhere. Direct customer feedback can be gathered using even simple surveys available through free online tools. I like Survey Monkey for both user experience and capabilities if you are just getting started. My data colleagues use Survey Gizmo and like the advanced features in the paid version.

Think about asking a mix of priority-ranking questions related to product features or benefits, as well as more open-ended questions related to how customers think you can improve your product or service.

What you need to know

Are your advertising clients more focused on lower cost and/or efficiency of their ad buy? Or are they focused on specific return on investment?

Are your readers completely strapped for free time, and feeling like they need a different way to consume your content? Or do they like to dig in to long-form pieces? Maybe it’s a little bit of both, depending upon the topic, day of week, and time of day.

Learn from your “worst” customers

Don’t forget about your lapsed customers. Although you may consider them your “worst” customers, they can provide valuable feedback about why they stopped using your product or service, what they opted to use instead, and how you can win them back as a customer.

When you understand what motivates your customers, what interests them, and where you can find them, that becomes powerful information that can help you catch their attention and tell your story effectively.

About Cathy Colliver

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