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IMC11: Understanding your customer

Learn how to better understand your customer and fulfil your customers needs with more targeted products


Two ways to address a customer need

  • Solve a problem
  • Support the life goal

Solve a problem

  • Hungry – Need food
  • Back pain – Take medication
  • 10mm hole – Need a drill / laser cutter / punch
  • More social engagement – Need interesting posts / followers / video

Support a life goal

Move someone from where they are to where they want to be

Jobs To Be Done
‘…your efforts should focus on helping them make that change. Ideally the consumers wouldn’t have to do any work.’

  • Not to be hungry – Food
  • Be fit and health – Medication / Diet / Exercise / Physio
  • Sell more widgets with holes Tools / Contractor / Automation
  • More leads – Focused sales strategy / Sales team / Outsource

‘When we buy a product, we essentially “hire” it to help us do a job. If it does the job well, the next time we’re confronted with the same job, we tend to hire that product again. And if it does a crummy job, we “fire” it and look for an alternative.’

Question: Why do customers hire you?
Why do people hire the IMC?

Build a customer profile

Start simply, add detail as you learn more

Describe your customer in five words Good place to start
Here’s Ben’s: Passionate Professional, Mac user, 40

Download Persona sheet blank.pdf to help build you customer profile

Customer / product fit

What are your customers goals?
How your product helps achieve these goals?

Customer Goal / Product Aim

  • Lose weight / Simple diet
  • Feel healthier / Exercise plan 
  • Meet new friends / Group meet-ups

Other considerations


  • How do customers describe the product?
  • Where do they look for recommendation?
  • How can we reach them?
  • What’s your backstory?
  • Why should they care?


  • What do they know already?
  • How will they compare us?
  • How long will this process take?
  • What questions can you help answer?


  • What do they need to know to make a decision? Price, delivery, returns…
  • Who will make the decision?
  • How do they buy from us?
  • And how can we make this easy?

Paradox of choice

We’re addicted to choice
Broadly seen as a good thing
Taken to extremes

Search for “cheese”
564 results found
136 Cheddar products (was 108!)
Choose from Mild, Medium, Farmhouse, Mature, Extra Mature & Vintage (10 products)
Most expensive, No.1 Rollright £29.50/kg

What if I made the wrong choice
Missed a better option
Able to research options endlessly, the internet makes things harder

How do we cope with choice?
Dozens of sizes, prices and features
Opinions from friends, magazines, podcasts
Mental energy to make informed decision
Decision overload

End up differentiating on price
Why we think choice is a good but actually it paralyses us

Restaurants are the worst
Large menu plus specials board
First 10 minutes not deciding
After meal – unlimited coffee choices!
Decisions left un-made by the designer (chef)
We need to make decisions for our customers
Reduce choice and anxiety Increase the throughput

Thali Restaurant
Vegetarian curry house – Bristol
2 set meal times, 2 set menus, one fixed price
Make it easy for me, keep it simple

Use choice to your advantage
Experiment with 2 beers, 80% chose most expensive, 20% least expensive
Add 3rd option, 80% chose middle, 20% choose expensive
No one bought the cheapest – Have 3 options

“seeking the perfect choice is not only a recipe for misery but more than likely does not actually exist.” – Barry Schwartz from book “Paradox of choice”

There is no perfect choice. Don’t beat yourself up about it

No decision is the worst decision
Why we think choice is a good thing but actually it paralyses us

Getting feedback

Helps to understand the customer better and deepens customer relationship

Learn to talk you customers language

Use testimonial text in your copy
Reflect language back in conversation
Use to improve customer persona

Bring your customers closer

A positive review reinforces your opinion of a company
More likely to refer to others

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