Joshua Conran is the Managing Partner at Deksia.View all articles written by this author
It’s important to consider what current clients think, as long as they can be identified as ideal clients. You have to be careful to make sure that you’re not listening to current clients that you don’t want and taking their consideration into account.
For instance, if you have a certain sector of your client base that you want to move away from, you might not want to take what they thought was great about you and promote that. But if you can get current clients you actually want who can tell you why they’re using you, it can help you strategize how to get more of that type of client. When you do the research, it can help you decide how to go after the clients you really want.
If you’re an auto garage, and all you’re getting is early model domestic cars from customers who really can’t afford to pay their bills, but you want to go to a late model service center that gets import cars from people who have discretionary funds, there’s two different demographics that you need to approach differently. If the early model car owners use you because you’re affordable, and the foreign car owners are using you because you have decades of knowledge that’s applicable to their cars, I wouldn’t necessarily go off on an affordable auto service campaign, because you’ll just get more of the kind of client you don’t want. But if you market that you have four generations of leadership working on these cars, you’re saying that you’re knowledgeable and have experience, which is what the upper echelon clients you want to attract are looking for.
A few years ago, we worked with a high-end homebuilding company that was only closing 20 percent of their bids. The problem wasn’t just that they had clients they didn’t want; they couldn’t even get the clients they didn’t want. It didn’t take us long to look at what their messaging was, and how it contradicted who they actually were. When we did the research on their current clients, we found out this company was seen as highly relational with a great attention to detail; they were also far out of the price range of the people who came to them based on their branding.
When we really looked at the type of clients they were getting the lion’s share of their proposal requests from, we realized these clients were worried about price and speed, which had nothing to do with what the business offered. They were losing that opportunity and just wasting time and resources putting proposals out there that would ultimately fall on deaf ears. With a little research on the front end, they would have known it before they even attempted it. So by slightly readjusting their messaging to line up with what their target clients actually said, they increased their rate by almost 300%.
Through the current client research, you use what you learn to revamp their image and the brand strategy. Once we can give that information to the creative team, then we can move forward developing their brand and tone to better reflect who they are and the interests of their target clients. Once you can align those things, and if you can meet the expectations that have been set, it’s easy.