How to discover what your customer truly wants

When a potential customers engages with your website or other marketing materials, can they clearly tell, how your brand helps them get what they want?

Without a clear understanding of what your customer wants, you fail to invite your ideal client into a story that engages them.

Every successful StoryBrand business, has a story with a clearly defined character and what that character wants.

So far, in the past two episodes, we have covered why the StoryBrand helps you make money and how to invite your customers into a story.

By uncovering that one thing your customer wants, your story is given definition and direction. You’ll want to nail down your character’s main ambition to one thing that is extremely clear and simple — this is your time to be “on the nose” and direct about what you offer.

There may be several things that are “right” but it’s your job to land on the one that is the most clear and compelling.

In episode #3 of the Marketing Made Simple Podcast, the StoryBrand team, is going to help you get down to that one thing.

Clear examples of what a customer wants

How to uncover what your customer wants?

To help you answer this question, think of the following:

  • What does your character want as it relates to what you offer?
  • What are your clients looking to buy from you?
  • What would your ideal client search for? 
  • Use the Jobs to be done framework, to better understand the jobs that arise for your clients where your product/services would be an ideal fit
  • Interview your customers and ask them straight up, what is it that they want
  • Look at online reviews and communities where your customers hang out and read their reviews
  • Visit the website of your industries past conferences and look for talk titles
  • During sales calls, start asking potential clients what they want? 
  • Check out Hubspot's 16 common type of customer needs

At Creativeo, when we're helping a client clarify their message, we rely on all the above during our research phase.

Things to watch out for as you uncover what your customer wants:

  1. You choose too many things
  2. You use inside language
  3. You cause people to burn too many calories to figure out what you mean. If your customer has to ask the question “What does that mean?” it is too complicated.


Key takeaways from Episode #3: Discover what your customers truly want

  • When people can see themselves in a marketing story, when they see themselves in the words, when they see themselves in the images and they go, "Oh, this story is about me," they experience narrative transportation.
  • The idea behind narrative transportation is that when you experience a good story and you get pulled into that story, you actually transport yourself into it.
  • The better, the story, the higher level of narrative transportation people experience, the more they see themselves in the story, and their heart and their actions are more likely to be impacted by that story. And therefore, the marketing and advertising actually has sway over their mind and their actions.
  • You have to begin the story with understanding what it is that your customer wants.
  • What your customer wants should clearly be visible above the fold on your website. This clearly tells potential customers we know exactly what you want.
  • Make sure that a fifth grader could understand what you are talking about in this section. Make it so clear, because here's the thing. Customers are busy. They're overwhelmed, and they have problems that your product can solve. And if you make it complicated for them to understand what you offer or how to get it, then you are doing them a disservice.
  • The most important thing is understanding your customer, knowing who your ideal customer is, knowing who your most profitable customer is.

Episode #3 Transcribe

J.J. Peterson (02:54):

Yeah. The idea behind narrative transportation is that when you experience a good story and you get pulled into that story, you actually transport yourself into it. Literally, you see yourself as a part of the story. So when a scary thing happens, you jump. If a couple gets together at the end of the movie and you're crying, you've experienced narrative transportation. If you are moved by that story, or you see yourself as part of it, you've experienced narrative transportation.

J.J. Peterson (03:23):

Now, here's the next thing about that theory is that the research shows that the better the story, the higher level of narrative transportation people experience, the more they see themselves in the story. And their heart and their actions are more likely to be impacted by that story. So they actually are changed. Your decisions can be changed. Your actions can be changed. You actually can be moved to action.

J.J. Peterson (03:49):

So here's the thing. It actually works in marketing as well. When people can see themselves in a marketing story, when they see themselves in the words, when they see themselves in the images and they go, "Oh, this story is about me," they experience narrative transportation. We don't even realize we're doing it, but they experience it. And therefore, the marketing and advertising actually has sway over their mind and their actions. You can experience narrative transportation in as little as a Tweet or an Instagram post.

April Sunshine (04:22):

Whoa, really?

J.J. Peterson (04:22):

Yeah, so you're not having to write a whole move or story in your marketing and messaging. You're just having to identify with the customer and say, "This story is about you." And that is really key to understanding one of the really important points of the StoryBrand framework, which is the marketing framework powering this podcast, that you can use to clarify your message by inviting customers into a beautiful story.

J.J. Peterson (04:50):

And that point is character want. And we say character want, because that's what your character wants. When you're defining your character, you're really defining what they want. And so we're using some inside language here, that we're bringing you into of character want. That's incredibly important. And in episode two last week, what we did is we talked about transformational identity.

J.J. Peterson (05:14):

Transformational identity is the idea that every person, every hero transforms in a story. And your customers transform by using your product or service. So we need to speak that language back to them of saying, "This is who you become by using our product or service." But this week with character, what we're going to do is hone in on the language that you're going to use to identify what is it that your customer wants from you? This needs to be incredibly clear. We cannot be vague with this at all.

J.J. Peterson (05:48):

At the beginning of a movie, we understand within the first five minutes, what a character wants. Everybody, you have to identify that. And it can't be a lot of things. It has to be one thing. Jason Bourne wants to understand who he is and where he comes from. But he can't also want to be starting a bakery, trying to train for a marathon, adopting a cat. He can't do all those things. That's a bad movie, right?

April Sunshine (06:12):

Yeah.

J.J. Peterson (06:12):

It has to be about one thing. And that gets people into the movie, because we know this is what the character wants. And we're going to watch the entire movie to see if they get what they want. That enters us into that story.

J.J. Peterson (06:26):

Well, with your marketing and messaging, in the same way, you have to begin the story with understanding what it is that your customer wants. And it has to be one thing. It can't be multiple things. It has to be that the customer's looking for a mattress, the customer's looking for lawn care that they can be proud of, a mattress that will give them a good night's sleep, a messaging framework that will help them get great marketing. You need to identify very early on in the story, what it is that the customer wants. And you need to be able to articulate that very, very clearly.

April Sunshine (07:03):

So for all of our entrepreneurs, nonprofit leaders, anyone out there who is following along and creating their brand story with us, what they need to do is figure out, all right, what is it that I offer that our customers want?

J.J. Peterson (07:21):

Yes. And the mistake that a lot of people make is they try to say, "But our customers want 20 things. They actually when all this other stuff." But the story can't be about 20 things. It has to be about one thing. And that goes back to the narrative transportation part, is you have to say, "Who is the story about?"

J.J. Peterson (07:41):

So when you name the one thing that my customer wants blank, then the customer sees that and goes, "Oh, that story is about me. I want that." And then the rest of your brand script, the rest of your brand story is about helping your customer get what they want.

J.J. Peterson (07:58):

So you really need to identify and say, "What does my customer want? They want what I offer." That's the story that I'm inviting them into. They will experience narrative transportation then, and they are going to be influenced by your messaging to buy your product.

April Sunshine (08:13):

That's right. The reason you really have to define it into one thing, J.J., we talk about bowling balls all the time at StoryBrand, bowling balls are basically ideas that your customers can hold. I mean, how many bowling balls can you hold, J.J., at one time?

But what we tell people is you're only going to have so much room for each concept, each idea. And so when you identify one thing that your customer wants, rather than 20, they're able to hold on to it. And so you're only handing them one bowling ball, rather than the 20.

J.J. Peterson (08:54):

So just practically, let's play a little game here. Okay?

April Sunshine (08:57):

Okay.

J.J. Peterson (08:57):

So let's say I make personalized cakes. What would you put for what the character wants, for a company who makes personalized cakes?

April Sunshine (09:08):

I need a special cake for my special occasion, to celebrate my special occasion.

J.J. Peterson (09:15):

There you go. So that's just super clear. You didn't use inside language. You didn't use a lot of stuff, like confectionary. You didn't confuse people. You just said a special cake for a special occasion. That's it. And so many people try to complicate their marketing.

April Sunshine (09:32):

Yes, they do.

J.J. Peterson (09:32):

They try to be flowery and cute and clever. And here's the thing. Clarity will win every time. You can be cute and clever, but you must be clear first. And this piece of the brand script, the character want, this element of story is so important that you have to get it to clear and simple.

J.J. Peterson (09:54):

Last week, we talked about aspirational identity, and that can really be high level and over the top. But with character and want, you want to be very clear. You want to ask the question, what does your customer want as it relates to your brand? And just put it down. That's it. This week, you got to talk to another marketing professional about this very thing.

April Sunshine (10:14):

That's right. I always love it when I get to talk to one of our StoryBrand marketing guides. So Stacey Moore, she's been in our program, where we certify some of the best marketers in the world to use the StoryBrand framework with their clients. So let's just get to it. Let's get practical, and let's hear how Stacey uses character want to really clarify one of her customer's messages.

April Sunshine (11:43):

Stacey, how do you feel about the character want, really diving in deep and figuring out what the customer wants in the StoryBrand framework?

Stacey Moore (11:53):

Well, I love this part of the framework, and I have a client that I worked with recently, Bonsai Kids Hair Care. And their product is kid's hair care products. So if you're looking at it at a very surface level, you would say, "Okay, the character want is kid's hair care products." But I'd like to delve a little more deeply into that. And I think that when you start asking questions about the character want, it can also lead into filling out the other areas of the brand script, the problems and successes.

So in delving more deeply into Bonsai Kids Hair Care, since that's the example I'm using right now, parents want to keep their kids safe and healthy. They want to save time getting ready. They want to fix problems with tangled hair. They want to fix problems with curly hair, which I know you are familiar with.

So taking all of that, and investing the time and energy to dig deeply into that, we found out that what they really want is great hair at home. If you look at that, you could say the character want is kid's hair care products. But it's just so much more depth when you add all of the other research and digging to it, and say what they really want is great hair at home. And so that's what we ended up using as the headline in their webpage wireframe, was "Your secret to great hair at home."

April Sunshine (13:15):

That's perfect. Putting it in the headline of your client's website, right at the top of the home page, clearly tells potential customers we know exactly what you want. Great hair at home. And this is not an isolated incident. You know and we know, you've got to plaster your character want all over your marketing. So Stacey, did you weave that want into other places as well?

Stacey Moore (13:42):

Well, when discovering a character want, we landed on that great hair at home as the primary character want that we were focusing on. But there's still a bank of all those other things. For example, this brand, since they're an e-commerce brand, on their wireframe, there is a call-out section where there's three feature call-outs. One is for tame, tangled hair. One is for manage unruly curls, and protect a tender head.

Stacey Moore (14:13):

So since those are three sub wants, then we gave a feature to those, where the customer then can click through to the specific products on the e-commerce website, that addressed that want.

April Sunshine (14:26):

That's so key, I feel like, here. Because we have so many clients and so many people who are listening, who they don't just have one product. They have multiple products and they're trying to market multiple things to people. And so you have to develop an umbrella, we call it like an umbrella brand script, where you are defining one main want. But then I love that you're talking about these sub pages that speak to specific ones, like tangle-free hair, and things like that.

Stacey Moore (15:01):

Yeah. That's really important in companies, especially like an e-com company, or a company that has multiple product lines. Not only that, companies that have different use cases. They may have one product, but they may sell into different types of market that have different wants.

Stacey Moore (15:20):

I love digging into all of that and then finding, okay, what's the common denominator that we're going to use on the homepage? And then what are the things that are different enough, that we need to create then a separate page to speak to this particular type of customer?

April Sunshine (15:34):

So how do you make that super simple in an online digital space?

Stacey Moore (15:40):

The most important thing is understanding your customer, knowing who your ideal customer is, knowing who your most profitable customer is. And we do that through customer interviews, through research. If you have a particular customer that you have in mind when you're creating this, pick that one customer and speak to them. And then if you have other customer segments that you need to address, address them in another place. Stick with one customer type on one page, if that makes sense.

April Sunshine (16:18):

That does make sense. And I'm so glad that you just said that. Those are the types of questions that you're asking your clients as well, whenever you're sitting down with them and trying to define it. It's like, who is your main customer that makes you the most money, the one that is going to actually buy the product you're wanting to sell? Because usually, people have a bunch of different products, but they've got a flagship one.

April Sunshine (16:42):

I have one last question. So going back to Bonsai Kids, how did they first respond when you identified their character want and plugged it into their marketing?

Stacey Moore (16:54):

The owner of the company was very thrilled when he saw that headline that said, "Your secret to great hair at home." And he said, "Oh, that's really what it is." And so that kind of aha is a good sign.

J.J. Peterson (17:17):

Stacey, thank you so much for sharing your time with us, and those incredible practical tips on how to use character want in your marketing. So as always, now it's time to send you off into the world with this week's actionable step, which is the practical step from today's conversation that you can immediately use to improve your marketing and clarify your message.

J.J. Peterson (17:37):

So for this week's actionable step, go to mystorybrand.com. If you haven't already, you can register online for our brand script, which the brand script is an online tool that lays out the StoryBrand framework, so you can fill out each part and keep track of your messaging. And it includes every part of the StoryBrand framework, so you have all of your messaging in one place.

J.J. Peterson (17:59):

So go to mystorybrand.com. And in the top left corner, there is a box that says "Character." And what I want you to do is write down a few words or a sentence that clearly describes what you offer, because that is what this story is about. That is what your customer wants. And when you can create a clear sentence, just a clear statement or sentence that describes what you offer, you now get to identify with your customer and invite them into a beautiful story that's all about them.

J.J. Peterson (18:33):

And here's the key that I want you to pay attention to in this part, is it needs to be very clear. If I have to ask you a question after I read it, that says, "What does that mean? Or how do you do it?" Then you haven't been clear enough. Make sure that a fifth grader could understand what you are talking about in this section. Make it so clear, because here's the thing. Customers are busy. They're overwhelmed, and they have problems that your product can solve. And if you make it complicated for them to understand what you offer or how to get it, then you are doing them a disservice.

J.J. Peterson (19:10):

Spend the time and serve your clients well, by creating a clear message. Identify what it is that the customer wants. Then take that sentence or that statement, put it on your website, put it in the header of your website, put it in your emails, put it in your one-liner, put it in your lead generators, put it everywhere, so that customers know what you offer that solves their problems. Having a clear message is one of the best ways that you can serve your customer. Being clear, not creating confusion, telling your customers exactly what you do that can solve their problems is going to help them win. And when they win, you win.

J.J. Peterson (19:55):

That's all for this week's episode of Marketing Made Simple. Thanks so much for taking time to be with us today, and believing, like us, that your marketing should be easy and it should work. Please subscribe to Marketing Made Simple wherever you listen to podcasts, and don't forget to rate and review, letting us know how these tips are transforming your business. Can't wait to see you next week.

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