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February 16, 2016

Your Clients Don’t Have Research Problems

WIIFMI know, for most firms in the research industry, that statement seems a little counter-intuitive… but it’s true. That CPG firm you work with doesn’t really care about focus groups. The automotive company doesn’t get all that excited about conjoint analysis. And that healthcare firm… let’s just say that max-diff doesn’t keep them up at night.

The fact is, your clients don’t have research problems… they have business problems – that they need research to help solve.

If you agree (and most folks I speak with tell me they do), then why is your website filled with process-focused content – espousing your expertise with all of those different methodologies? The same goes for your capabilities presentation and proposals.

Your clients don’t care… not really. You provide research services – having different methodologies at your fingertips is expected. And so is your expertise with them.

What clients (and prospective clients) want to know is… “What can you do for me?” and “How can you help me solve my problems?”

Notice the theme? It’s from the very popular WIIFM Radio – “What’s In It For Me?”

So… talk to them through the lens of their eyes. Show them that you understand the problems they face, that you can help solve them and how you’ll solve them.

  • Don’t tell them you’re great at focus group research, for example… show them how you can help them develop new ad concepts.
  • Don’t tell them you have a groovy new mobile app… show them how you can help sell more products by uncovering in-the-moment shopper insights.

See the difference?

“But Steve, our ‘customers’ are the corporate researchers… and they love research.”

Fair enough… and I’m not suggesting you eliminate showcasing your methodology expertise. [Maybe tone it down a bit!] But consider this… who is their customer? Usually, it’s one of their company’s Brand Managers or the V.P. of Marketing. By talking with them like we’ve been discussing here, you’ll be helping them to do their jobs more effectively, too, as they communicate with their clients. It’s a win-win-win!

So, go back to your website, your capabilities presentation, your proposal package and your blog posts… and look at them through the eyes of your clients and prospective clients. Talk to them about what’s important to them… and they’ll be hanging on every word.

And the bonus… it will help you stand out – because so few firms actually do this.

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