understanding your ideal customers’ problems might be the most important information to get right for your business. if you understand what problems your business solves, you have a much better chance atscaling. if you don’t understand your customers’ problems, your business will be much less effective and will struggle to grow.
donald miller’sstorybrandframework helps businesses clarify their message. part of gaining that clarity is understanding the kinds of problems that consumers deal with and want resolved. the better a business owner understands their ideal customers’ problems, the better equipped they can become to solve them.
your ideal customer has three distinct but related problems: the external, internal and philosophical problems.
donald miller separates problems into these three realms and equips businesses to not only resolve them, but also to communicate the solutions clearly to the ones in need. let’s dive a little deeper into each type of problem and explore how business owners can equip themselves to solve all of them.
1. the external problem
the external problem is where most businesses start and end when building products, services and making improvements.
if you’re inlandscaping, the customer’s external problem is that their property doesn’t look as nice as it could and they don’t have the ability to do it themselves. if you’re infood service, the problem is that people are hungry and want a specific atmosphere to enjoy food that they didn’t want to prepare or have time to.
every industry exists to meet external problems like these and it matters that these problems get taken care of professionally.
however, solving the internal and philosophical problems is where customer loyalty is born.
2. the internal problem
your customers’ internal problem has to do with their emotions surrounding their external problem.
by creating a gorgeous landscape for ahome, your business has solved the external problem but also alleviated potential feelings of embarrassment or frustration. maybe you provided joy by making a dream come true! by providing a delicious meal quickly or in style, you’re solving the external problem of hunger but also solving any nervousness surrounding an occasion, buying the customer some time in their busy day or providing a hoped-for, memorable experience.
3. the philosophical problem
the last kind of problem is thephilosophical problem. this problem has to do with principles in the world that your customer might hold and abide by.
for example, your customer might believe that it’s just plain wrong to have a non-landscaped yard. by providing that service, you’re putting to rest their cognitive dissonance of what they value and what their reality is at the time.
solving the philosophical problem involves aligning your customer’s reality with what they value and believe at their core and sometimes at a moral level; it’s all about meeting the subconscious expectations and beliefs of what the customer thinks theydeserve from businesses.
if you’ve ever been upset by the wait time at a restaurant, it’s likely that you believe and expect that your food should be ready within a certain time and that you deserve that. if you’ve ever dealt with an unsatisfied customer, it’s likely that some part of your business failed to meet their philosophical expectations and what they believed they deserved from your business.
getting to the root of each of these problems with every customer your business services is a surefire strategy for success. even if your business is well equipped to handle these issues once someone commits to you, it’s important that yourmarketing and brandingcommunicate your dedication to solving all of these problems to more effectively bring in new customers.
communicating this three-tier problem solving method is simpler than it sounds, but it can be time consuming to get it right on your own. working with a seasoned digital marketing agency is a great next step as you further explore your business’s offerings in a new light and learn how to effectively communicate it.
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