A move that – from the outside – made perfect sense, resulted in plummeting sales and overhead costs they couldn’t quite meet. It was the beginning of the end…or at least a years-long attempt at getting back their mojo.
The Gap did what so many small companies, like yours and mine, do except at a much bigger scale…
And whether it’s a corporate budget that would give the average person a cushy year filled with unlimited trips to Whole Foods, rent-free living and all the Disney vacay’s you could stand…
Or a zero budget outreach inside a Facebook group, the results are almost always the same…
Throwing your time, energy and budget into surveys, polls and focus groups rarely work.
Because it’s too damned easy…
It’s easy to ask a group of people what they think you should give them next.
It’s easy to take that information and build what seems like the next best thing…
(and then wonder why your 10-year old niece has more in her piggy bank than you do in your checking account).
It’s easy because it requires little to no innovation or analysis.
And if I’m being completely direct here (and I am), it’s lazy.
But when industry Goliaths, like The Gap, are doing it…
…or when your favorite internet marketing guru tells you to “ask your people what they want and give it to them” you’ve no choice but to believe it’s true.
So what’s the better strategy?
Don’t ask…observe and interpret.
- Notice what your clients, customers and students are doing and notice what they aren’t doing.
- Notice how they respond to one email, post or sales effort over another.
- Have conversations with them so you can understand the story playing out in their head.
- Take all the sales data you have, behavioral data, all the knowledge you have about your people, conversational hints and interpret what they mean.
This isn’t the same as guessing by the way. It’s an active way of honing in on your people, what they care about, what and where they struggle and then delighting them by creating things they’ll want to squeeze your cheeks over.
Because when we’re in the throws of plummeting sales, trying to pay rent, buy groceries that aren’t all prepackaged by Swanson or decide between paying down that pesky Visa card or getting a root touch up the only thing you know you need, is help.
Your people are no different…
In the throws of their struggle, they want help.
They want you to understand them – the emotions and mental fatigue they tussle with on the daily.
They want you to take the bull by the horns and make magic.
They want you to lead damnit!
This isn’t new.
It’s also not a slick hack or even a complicated principle.
It’s the basis, the foundation, of all business.
It’s the reason I created the Mind Meld Method.
Because in my bones I believe that if I need friends, family, and strangers on the internet to tell me what I should build next in my business, maybe I shouldn’t be in business.
PS. I’m raising enrollment fees next week, February 22, so if you want to understand your buyers story and how to inject your marketing with more empathy – and less hype – get your marketing mitts on the course now and here: Mind Meld Method.
PPS. The Gap is still struggling because they stopped trusting their buyer, their intuition and their once excellent instincts. Today, their message is diluted, unfocused and lost in a sea of khaki pants and sensible button ups. Had they stayed close to their buyers story, me thinks they’d be telling a different, more profitable tale.