What Is Important to Your Customer?
Once you have a good grasp of who your customer is - or customers are - the next step is to identify which of your products and services (or combinations of products and services) your customers value. The emphasis remains on aligning the benefits you provide with the diverse needs of different customers.
Customers at each level of the value chain may assess your bundle of benefits differently. Some may focus on product quality while others expect your promotion to help build traffic through their stores.
Your customers in different market segments look for the value of your content to their needs. Your identical content means one thing to the Executive Director of a trade association and something entirely different to a college instructor or to the Manager of Human Resources in a major corporation.
This scenario underlines the importance of defining your customer. Since you cannot be all things to all people, choose your target markets and focus on the potential customers within each. If your content is important to buyers in vertical markets (bankers, insurance companies or pet-food manufacturers), research their industries. Conduct informational interviews with your existing customers. Subscribe to their trade magazines, attend their trade shows and join their associations.
If your content is applicable horizontally in multiple markets (i.e., motivation, productivity or health), then learn more about your subject and competitive theories. In either case, track chatter on social-media platforms that relates to your topic, industries and customers.
Analyze your newfound data and find new ways to present your material. Make changes to your website, your literature and sales presentations. Help your customers solve their problems in ways in which they may not be aware. For example, if you have a book with tips on caring for a dog, contact pet-food manufacturers. Show them how they could increase the sale of their products by offering your book for free with multiple purchases of their dog food.
The more varied ways in which you define your customers, the less you can assume that you know what they want. Test your assumptions. Search for new information to make sure you truly understand what your customers value. Then deliver that value better than your competitors do.
Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS - www.bookapss.org - formerly SPAN). He is also the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books. Brian offers commission-based sales of books to buyers in non-bookstore markets. Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715; (860) 675-1344; firstname.lastname@example.org or www.premiumbookcompany.com twitter.com/bookmarketing
Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, seminar leader, television host and president of Premium Book Company, which sells books to non-bookstore buyers on a non-returnable, commission-only basis and conducts on-site training for publishers' sales forces.
Brian is the author of "How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns)," a do-it-yourself guide to selling books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities, with no returns. He has written many articles about book publishing and marketing, is the author of the eight e-booklets with "Proven Tips for Publishing Success," and creator of the series of "Book Marketing Wizards." He is also the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter, "Book Marketing Matters."
Brian is the host of the television series "The Book Authority" and has aired over 650 shows. In addition, he is the author, narrator and producer of the media-training video program "You're On The Air."