It seems like every person I talk to has referenced or quoted from the new movie, What Men Want. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a follow-up to the famous Mel Gibson movie, What Women Want, that debuted nearly 20 years ago (I know… I thought it was hard to believe, too).

In the 2019 version, the main character (played by Taraji P. Henson) can hear everything that’s going through the minds of the men who are near her. It’s hilariously accurate from what I’ve heard.

But, as I thought about the movie, I couldn’t help but think about how often we wonder what other people are thinking—especially our potential customers. What if there was a way to know what potential customers were thinking as you develop your marketing materials or sales presentations?

3 Things Today’s Customers Want (and How Marketing Can Help)

While I might not know the exact thoughts potential customers are having, here are a few commonalities most of them share to help you interact with them effectively, based on what they want.

  • Your customers want solutions to their problems, not more information about your brand. Every customer has a hero in mind when they think about their story—and, it’s not your brand. It’s them. Your customers aren’t researching your brand because their deepest longing is to learn more about your company history or production process—they’re researching your brand because they want to know if you can help them solve the problems they’re facing. The more we remember this as we develop marketing copy or sales materials, the more effective we’ll be when it comes to communicating with them.
  • Your customers are wanting to learn about you on their own terms, not from salespeople. In today’s world, the buyer is primarily in charge of the sales process. Research shows that 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a potential customer even calls a supplier. That means you need to provide ways for people to learn about your brand at their own pace. Rather than using pushy sales strategies, it’s important to shift your thinking towards helping your potential customer solve their complicated business problems.
  • Your customers want to hear from your customers, not your marketing department. Today’s buyers are incredibly sophisticated—and, they don’t like to be sold on things. They can smell a marketing campaign from a mile away. If the messages you are sending are filled with “marketing speak”—they’ll quickly tune you out. Instead, they want to hear from people like them who have experienced success because of your brand. They want to believe the idea that “people like me buy from companies like this.”

There are numerous strategies you can use when it comes to getting into the minds of your customers and telling stories they actually want to hear. But, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Start by thinking about how you like to be treated by your favorite brands. Then, work hard to give your potential customers the same experience.