Early in my career, we hired a consultant to speak to the team about how to best interact with the prospective customer in person. One of the techniques he talked about was mirroring the customer. The idea of reflecting the customer, specifically the end use customer makes sense and is effective. This practice has stuck with me in every sense and is an important principle in our work as an agency. Mirroring the end use customers appears to be one thing that differentiates Draper DNA from other agencies in the home and building business. Let me show you what I mean.
Homeowners v. Agencies
Let’s look at homeowners as the most common end use customers for agency clients and compare them to the agency teams that are charged with connecting these homeowners. The average age of a homeowner is 56 year old versus the average age of agency staff is 38 years old. There is a full generation difference between the end use customer – the average homeowner – and the average agency person. Within this full generation of time, the homeowners have different experiences with relationships, family, children, jobs, and their homes than people eighteen years their junior. These different experiences lead to different preferences in considering and making choices. This is important as marketers work to influence purchase decisions based on an understanding of the customers preferences. There is a disconnect between the customers and the agencies.
When was the last time you heard someone say they truly understand and appreciate how their parents think? It does not happen very often and if it does it is usually painfully off target. The lack of honest understanding caused by the disconnect between agency teams and homeowners produces work that is typically generic and impersonal. Not knowing the end use customer well leads to a focus on products in generic, possibly beautiful settings. Audit the advertising of home and building products manufacturers and you will see a lack of people in the work. You do not need to know the preferences of the audience when the audience is not included in the campaign. The implication of not knowing the audience, not being able to effectively mirror the homeowners, is the loss of personal connections in design, copy, placement, and results. All you need to do is look at the advertising and you will see what I mean.
I mentioned earlier that mirroring the end use customer is one of the principles of our agency. When I formed this agency, I chose to work with team members that reflected the end use customers of our clients. No rookies on this team. Experienced professionals with life and work histories that connect us to our audiences and truly understand and share the preferences of customers we are pursuing. This decision is proving to provide remarkable benefits to our clients including:
- Campaigns that are personal to the end users which allows our clients to connect and gain the trust of their customers effectively
- Optimizing the clients’ investments because of our familiarity with the audience
- A different look, feel, and voice than most of the marketplace that is rooted in the relationship shared with the customer
Through our experience and relationship with the end user customers we are targeting, we provide an authentic message that feels like a conversation you have with your friends.
We are often told by our clients that our experience working in the home and building industry is a meaningful advantage to them in planning, strategy, and operations. We provide them with counsel and a voice based on actual events that have been tried, measured, and their success determined. The respect our experience provides is an asset that is valued by the home and building clients.
What’s in it for you?
This is a good question to ask yourself when you are seeing something new. I suggest you now have a resource of experience in the home and building market unlike any other that mirrors your end use customers. The decision on what to do about this is up to you. Based on my experience, I suggest you take this opportunity to look in the mirror and to see if your agency partners align with your customers.