In his book Always in Fashion, Mark Weber writes, “Successful marketing depends on understanding your customer.” During his time as divisional president at Van Heusen, the company spent most of its marketing budget advertising to men, as it sold men’s clothes. After digging for deeper customer insights, Mark discovered a large percentage of men’s shirts were actually purchased or purchase-influenced by women. Yet most men’s clothing designers and manufacturers spent the majority of their time and money advertising in men’s magazines. Based on these data, Mark decided to try something different by advertising exclusively in women’s magazines. This was the first time anyone working in men’s fashion had spent their entire budget advertising in women’s magazines. Mark’s research and instincts were right, and this decision resulted in the first billion dollar year for Van Heusen.
Irrespective of the industry you operate in, uncovering customer insights that may be below the surface or not readily obvious separates good marketers from great marketers. Often times, marketers take information given to them from market research and other sources and act on these data instead of challenging them. Challenging the status quo takes analytical skills, confidence, and creativity. Employees who identify innovative ideas or solutions and dig for deeper customer insights will differentiate themselves from their peers. Always ask yourself and your employees how to generate “more poetry” and “less prose.”
Mark Weber, Always in Fashion: From Clerk to CEO—Lessons for Success in Business and in Life
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