Pete Drucker wrote in his book The Practice of Management that the purpose of business is to create a customer. That thought process has become the holy grail for marketing and communications. Today the best marketers go beyond just creating customers to helping their customers become something different.
Effective marketing will always bring about change. The most basic example is changing a non-customer into a customer. But sometimes the change marketing brings is far more substantial. Marketing can help people become the person they seek to become. Remember the Marlboro Man? But that’s bad marketing because kids wanted to become cool, but many to got throat cancer instead.
The Disney Princess series helps little girls become more like the princess they admire.
Short? Tall? Grande? Venti? Black Eye? Red Eye?
50 years ago if you ordered coffee at the counter of the local restaurant your choices were limited to regular or decaf, black or with cream, sugar or not. You ordered and paid a few pennies for your cup of Joe. Then along comes Starbucks asking the question who do we want average coffee drinkers to become? The answer, sophisticated connoisseurs of complex coffees.
Through the use of language, culture, and technology Starbucks as successfully changed some coffee drinkers into a subset of customers who appreciate coffee in all its forms and are willing to pay a premium.
When you tell your company story, launch a website, make a social media post ask yourself is this adding to our value proposition of who we need our customers to become.
If you’d like to learn more about this idea of helping your customers to transform Michael Schrage has written great short book on the subject called…you guessed it…Who Do You Want Your Customers To Become?