Cracking Open New Customers: Caveat Emptor 2.0
Caveat Emptor was all about putting the emphasis on the customer to check the offer. I think the tables have turned. It’s about time we, the product vendors, checked out the “would-be” buyers. Buyers is a generous term these days. Many of them will never pay a dime. Many only contribute to creating the content of our products. As product people. we often think more about the product than the customer. I’m arguing it’s not buyer beware, but beware, buyer!
New Customers Trump New Products, that’s the premise of this post.
We’re too quick to focus on our new product features and not the new would-be buyers (and the ones that got away). Or the one that stayed 5 minutes, got confused and left. Fremium models only work when you scale really well, when your experience is effortless. That’s really hard to achieve. If you are losing beginner level customers you will never hit your stride. Your lofty visions will remain a far off dream.
What’s Missing? What’s causing Friction?
Marketing folk quickly know too much to be helpful. We lose our innocence. New Customers offer a unique window into our innocence. That’s why new customers trump new products/features. We think more about what’s next and our product roadmap than what a new customer needs. Have your ever got too excited about a new feature? New features rarely have their planned impact. What has more impact is really explaining an existing feature to a new customer.
Shiny & New
Marketing people love new features and they shouldn’t. They should love new customers more. New Customers have an ability to remind us of the basics and to ground our communications.
I believe, we all want our customers to be more advanced. More capable. More desiring. We project this wish via our proposition. Have you done this? I have! We think about where we are going – our vision. We forget where our customer are. We forget to put ourselves in our customers shoes. We think of out most advanced customer and we think about what they need. It’s totally self serving because we know our own story and advanced stuff is more interesting.
The Big Takeaway
Making your offering more appealing to new customers often means taking things away. This means making your product more accessible. This also means those high end features become even more high end. Low hanging fruit is often lower down. They need less. They find the existing products complex. Most of marketing’s effort should be on serving the new customer, the beginner. Talk to the lurkers and the undecided and include them in your conversations. The educated or advanced customers will dig and hunt for information because they already care. I’m not saying make it harder for them, I’m saying make it easier for new customers to get to that point (and for them to care too).
Who Are the Vocal Ones?
Existing customers are more likely to be vocal, but their needs will drive to more complex problems. I’m not suggesting you don’t answer those needs, but I’m cautioning you to think about the newbies, because don’t have a strong voice. Newbies don’t know what questions to ask. Newbies maybe don’t know why they need you. It’s your job to simplify and educate and bring new customer with you on your journey.
Newbies don’t know what they need. Newbies don’t know what they don’t know. You do. That’s your job. We forget to self-check and validate what customers needs to know next.
So go ask a newbie. Try it today.
Image Credit :Nina Matthews Photography via Flickr.com and Creative Commons