Group Speak

By: Troy Nottingham
December 7, 2017

You gotta know why …

Many companies – smart companies – leverage data and research to answer questions that will help inform their planning strategies. Questions like:

  • Who buys our products?
  • How much will people pay for the next generation of this product?
  • What set of features / benefits will generate the greatest value add to our buyer?
  • Does the market see us as different from our competitors?
  • Where will our marketing / sales development dollars be best spent?
  • How can we grow the business?

The result is typically the accumulation and analysis of behavioral data (what people buy, when and how often do they buy, how much they spend per buying occasion, etc.), along with research (who the buyer is, their preferences for things like: feature sets, messaging, perceived value, etc.).

This information is very useful for planning, product development, pricing and marketing.  However, it alone can take you only so far.  Why?  Because it is missing a critical piece of puzzle.  Simply knowing what people buy is not enough.  Knowing what people buy and how they feel about things like feature sets, messaging and new products is not enough either.

The missing link is the “why” – why do people buy our products?  Why do people prefer a specific feature set?  Why does message A (vs. B, C and E) resonate so much more clearly and drive such high interest?

In most cases, knowing the “why” is what makes the difference – the difference between value and premium pricing, the difference between winning and losing share in a highly competitive market, the difference between netting a good vs. a great return on an investment.

“Why” picks up your brand’s story where behavior stops.

Imagine if you could never talk to your customer.  Instead, you could only observe what they do in store and online.  You might not know that the reason people buy your product has less to do with your product and everything to do with the fact that you make it so much easier (than your competitors) to return your product if needed.  Or that your sales are lagging because some well-known and trusted blogger in your customer’s community has endorsed a competitor.

What your customers do is important.  Knowing why they do it puts you in the best position to pivot – in the areas of product development, messaging, channel strategy and product pricing – as your customer pivots.