Jun 2, 2010

Technology May Change, But Human Nature Won’t

Technology evolves at a startling pace. There are always new “shiny objects” to embrace and figure out. A few years ago it was Twitter and Facebook. A decade ago it was Google. Today it is location-based social networking like FourSquare and Yelp. What’s next? As technology evolves there will always be new platforms to deal with.

Technology may keep changing, but at least you have a constant: your customers’ needs.

Human Nature is Consistent

As a marketer, I can sleep comfortably knowing human nature is consistent. No matter how complex technology gets, people don’t change. We have basic wants, needs and desires. It’s been that way for 10,000 years, and I am willing to bet it will stay that way for another hundred years or so.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs helps us understand what drives us. We aren’t very complex beings. We need to eat, sleep and live safely. Once we achieve that, we want more. Charmin addresses a basic need by providing us toilet paper. While Gucci or Porsche play to our higher needs of self-esteem and social recognition.

In a consumption driven world, it’s our job to understand and serve our customers’ needs.

Key questions to consider:

  1. What human needs do your products or services fulfill? Do you serve a basic need, an emotional need, an affiliative need or a self-actualization need?
  2. How do you serve your customers’ needs?
  3. How do your customers find and evaluate products or services in your category?

What drives your customers?

Understanding your customers’ needs provides you the freedom to innovate.

Your customers’ needs provide a fulcrum to balance your brand. While technology marches along at a frenetic pace, your customers’ needs tend to be constant. This is the area to focus your brand, and the platform for innovation.

As you understand your customers’ needs and how they buy, you can leverage technology. Technology is designed to make our lives easier. Treat it that way.  It’s not about the latest “shiny object.”  It’s about using the available tools to help your customers understand your value proposition, demonstrate your capabilities and remove resistance from their buying process.

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