1. Create customer personas
To create a customer persona, think about what defines your customers' lifestyles and create separate identities for each customer. Are they Scary, Sporty, Baby, Ginger or Posh? Where do they like to shop? What type of food do they most enjoy? What does their party scene look like? The Spice Girls picked generic traits for each member and then used those traits to appeal to a specific market segment. Since they're a band, they can use their differences to draw a larger crowd. As you consider your product portfolio, make sure you have clear messaging for each type of customer. You can safely bet that Posh Spice and Sporty Spice are *not* the same sort of persona, so don't treat them as such!
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's listen to some awesome tunes you probably spent the last 15 years trying to get out of your head.
2. There is no need to say you love me, it would be better left unsaid.
Recognition of their effort for giving you everything
It's easy enough to make them happy, just be consistent.
Likewise, consistent posting on social media and a reputation for quality service and products will get you into customers hearts and minds. Even through Toyota's recent woes with stuck accelerators and all sorts of technical malfunctions, they've maintained their standard of service in a way that Ford didn't during the Pinto debacle. Consistency is important and making your brand synonymous with quality is never a bad thing.
3. I need to know the way to feel to keep me satisfied.
Entire products are based upon people's insecurities: glamor magazines and makeup for women, giant trucks and male enhancement pills for men, and diet food for pretty much everyone. There are countless examples of this and while it's not the point of this blog post, you can pretty much make the argument that all products are borne out of someone's desire to solve others' worries.
No matter how much we'd like to pretend its otherwise, everyone has problems. Understanding people's problems and providing solutions is the foundation of a successful product line. In order to sell something, it must be useful!
Lastly, you need to make sure that the problem you're solving is clearly communicated. Customer do need to know how your product can satisfy them--if your products' intentions aren't made clear, they're probably going with a competing brand that is more focused.
4. Are you as good as I remember, baby?
Don't forget to focus on quality assurance! Otherwise, words are wind and a long winter is coming.
Another key lesson from this song (which is Kyle's favorite Spice Girls song) is that you will inevitably let your customers down:
"Silly games that you were playing, empty words we both were saying...let's work it out boy."
If you do end up letting a customer down, quickly solving their problem is key. Admitting and apologizing for problems make you seem proactive, honest, and transparent--brand traits which should be the goal of any business. Part of your social media strategy should be sifting through the noise for customer complaints and then making sure that those customers are impressed with your reactiveness and service. Whether or not you want them to, people will complain. You might as well spin it to your advantage!
Don't ignore your customer's pleas for help! If someone takes the time to complain that means you can salvage that relationship. Listen to what your customers need and get it on, get it on.
5. Everything is free--all you need is positivity.
If you're a bunch of white British girls, you probably shouldn't record a song that poorly imitates another culture's music or uses racial slurs in its lyrics. It's pretty amazing that their publicists thought "yellow man" was kosher.
This song does highlight one marketing principle that you can use in moderation: controversy. While we think this song ultimately fails, capitalizing on controversy can greatly boost your brand's visibility. This doesn't have to be something hugely controversial, you can just listen to what customers are complaining about in regard to competitors and then offer a solution.
If you're looking for a way to differentiate your business from competitors, track the major players. You should easily be able to find people complaining about one or more of their products. From there, pick the ones that you're best positioned to fix and then offer a solution. People won't only be happy that you have a solution, they'll also be shocked that you went out of your way to help them.
6. If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.
More specifically, if you're looking to understand what customers value you should find out where they spend their money. This means you should concentrate on products that are not offered by your company, but that your customers consume from other sources. Consider this scenario:
You're an executive at Coca-Cola. You've been tasked with running a contest that must give away one of two things: either $750 worth of Coca-Cola or an iPad. Which would you choose?
Unless you have a wish to lose your job, you'll probably choose the iPad. Most people don't consume $750 worth of Coke in a year, and even if they did, where would they store 250 bottles of Coke? At best, that's an inconvenience. At worst, it's stupid.
One great tool to review customer's habit is Demographics Pro. It's free for a trial period, but the insight is really amazing and will surprise you.
Here's some other compelling advice from Wannabe:
"If you want my future forget my past. If you wanna get with me better make it fast."
Make sure to appeal to your customers dreams and aspirations--the ultimate goal of successful branding is to get customers to use your product to indicate what type of person they are. You don't see people walking around with AT&T t-shirts or Bank of America t-shirts, but you will see them with Atari shirts or sports teams. While this isn't really a fair comparison, it is true.
"If you wanna be my lover you gotta get with my friends. If you wanna be my lover you have got to give--taking is too easy but that's the way it is."
Focus on the value your brand gives to customers, not what you want to sell them and how much money you want from them. You tend to get out what you put in, and if you create a brand that's focused on the consumer you stand a much better chance at success.
"I won't be hasty, I'll give you a try...if you really bug me then I'll say goodbye."
Don't forget that customers are a privilege, not a right. If you're too salesy you risk losing them, or if you don't offer any content, well, they'll say goodbye.