We've been espousing this sentiment for years. And yet, how much do we really know about our clients' businesses? Not much. Not enough. Especially as we move through 2020.
This year has presented challenges to us and to our clients that were without precedent. Meeting those challenges has become a moving target. Our job is to guide our clients through the maze. We do that with knowledge.
My first boss in radio taught me to do a customer needs analysis. He had worked in insurance sales and taught me the same sales system he had been taught in the insurance industry. My early CNA's went something like this:
- Who's your target customer?
- How have you advertised before?
- What's your budget?
At the time, that worked. It WILL NOT work today. In today's environment we must delve deeply into our clients' needs and wants. We must know their business. We must know how their business was before COVID, how COVID has affected their business and what they foresee for the next months. Without this knowledge, how can we hope to craft an effective campaign?
The CNA form that I use today has categories of information that we MUST know when we leave our client's office. It contains an assortment of questions to help us get the information. I am constantly revising it to keep pace with changing times.
A good CNA today is a conversation, not an inquisition. We guide that conversation by the questions we ask. It is a true art to be able to ask great questions. A great question might be defined by our clients saying, "I've never had anyone ask me that before. It's a good question."
I have a rule when doing a CNA: Talk about the business of the business before you talk about the marketing of the business.
When we have a deep understanding of how your client's business works, how the current pandemic has affected their business, the changes they have made to serve their customers, then we can translate his needs and goals into an effective campaign. This is only logical. And yet, we don't do it. We come in and begin with questions about their marketing. Yes, that's important for us, but the client knows who we are. They know whom we represent. They will lead us to the subject of marketing later in the conversation. I've had clients tell me that they have no doubt we can market their business because now we understand their business.
Today many of us sell digital products along with our radio, TV or newspaper. Coordinating multiple advertising platforms begins with a deep knowledge of the client.
Seek first to understand. Knowledge is the key to unlocking budgets that will allow us to create effective campaigns. I challenge you to do this. You will be amazed!