Understanding your audience helps them make better decisions and you to get the results you reached for. This is far healthier than running at a constant pace where you are chasing everyone else.
When you frame your actions around others and not necessarily spending a life, inward-focused it encourages better decisions. Ali Carmichael recognises that not everything has to be at such a relentless tempo, as this is where distractions and loss of focus happens.
Ali acknowledges that many businesses are fixated on mimicking what is in the marketplace, “Many companies look to other brands with a desire to emulate what they have. Some businesses might set out to recreate, but I think the majority just want their own identity. However, it is easy to get swept up in the success of others and then look inward and assume, mistakenly, much is wrong with their efforts. In that state of mind, the only visible option is to try and take a piece of someone else’s cake.”
There is a lot to be said about the audiences we serve, rather than chasing our industry counterparts.
In 2013, customer consulting firm Walker produced a study that stated that at the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Ali highlights, “Businesses have the ability to go outside and lean into their customers and see how their product and services, or their marketing channels, are landing with the most important people.
“We will often see businesses missing the mark in some way, but that is where the opportunity lies. Not in copying others, but in adapting what we do to better cater to our target audience.”
Everything starts and ends with the people whom we serve.
Knowing Those Who Are With You
As we come to the end of the year, a lot of practice in 2020 has been to quickly adjust our businesses during the pandemic. At times it can feel unforgiving, particularly when a lot is reactive. Ali says, “The short term starts to hold more weight than the long term, and this is where things come unstuck.”
When the emphasis is on the short term, there becomes a more notable unbalance from the objectives set. Ali continues, “Ultimately the customers lose out, and I think society loses out too. When it comes to customer experience, many organisations can’t see that they are actually further away from the customer. By making hasty decisions, focusing on being first to market, chasing the trends, and by jumping on the latest technology, there becomes a disconnect with the long-term impact.”
Perhaps stopping, reflecting and looking around is not a good time to do that at the moment? Ali disagrees, “When we pause it becomes easier to recognise that the noise is all distraction, the answers are simpler than we envisioned, and we notice how all other businesses are getting caught in the same inside-out trap. What is powerful here is that, by slowing down slightly, you can have a clear advantage.
Closer to Home
It’s not just in our professional lives where the momentum becomes hectic. Ali looks a lot more closer to home and where the pace can be overawing. “Being a parent of four there are times where life is chaotic.
“I’ve been caught in my own headspace, and just tried controlling the situation with a bullish authority. I want the kids to calm down and get on with a task we have in hand. Alas, this never really works, even if the children do reluctantly put their shoes away, get out of the bath, tidy their bedroom, there is always a knock-on effect. The general mood is low, kids are more reactive, and the next task becomes just as much a slow painful burn.
When I stop, get out of my head, and slow down I can engage with the children at their level, I become empathetic and more creative. Getting the task in hand undertaken and complete becomes a more pleasant everyday task, maybe a game. Slowing down and assessing the situation for what it actually is as part of a bigger picture.”
“Any parent will understand that children are way easier to parent when we get on our knees and connect at their level.
Framing In A Shape For Others
Whether it is being a parent or looking to instil a new programme throughout a business, the best decisions are made when there is time to focus and understand through the lens of others and not just the business.
Ali understands from a business level the importance to learn to listen and understand other people. Whilst it can be difficult when at such a pace and moving onto the next task, we all have to adjust. Ali concludes, “By taking the foot off the gas every once in a while and better understanding the target audience, and by helping customers to make better decisions that are wholly right for them, business will build better long term relationships, even if we don’t make a fast buck today.”
Distractions and never-ending to-do lists will never go away. Having a practical and clear vision of those people who interact with your product or service is essential to ensuring its success.
Now has never been a more important time to refocus and give you and your business some time to think and recognise the people you serve, without being led astray but with a calm head on our shoulders.