Mirroring your customer is only the first step in the three-step Mirror-Integrate-Elevate (MIE) process. With consumer diversity, unlimited choices and ever-increasing demands for personalized service, people can afford to be far more cautious and critical today. They also have the “tech tools” at their disposal to quickly and effectively do their consumer homework along with their social media feedback systems. In addition, people make much quicker decisions about “me too” type of product assets and are constantly looking for something new and different. The days of the “easy, simple sell” are over. Our earlier “media savvy” youth are moving into later stages of development, with both the tools at hand, and tons of media communication experience about a wide range of products and services. Today, the consumer’s attention is piqued by things that are exciting, entertaining, and unique. Customers understand more and more about what personally engages them as well as what disinterests and bores them. Our high-tech culture combined with high-touch social media has created a savvy and discriminating culture, rapidly moving into multiple generations of sensitive and skilled consumers.
Nowadays, you must understand in far more depth, how the multiple dimensions of your product or service have the potential to be integrated, maximized and leveraged more effectively to offer the greatest benefit to the increasingly diversified customer that you are mirroring. Your product or service has typically been viewed as having a distinct set of category features and benefits that often have the same “weight” for each of the individuals in the target audience that engage with it. But in truth, these features and benefits no longer have the same “weight” for today’s changing consumer, so there are new opportunities to explore. Often-neglected and unintegrated product attributes can broaden the features and benefits of the product for the changing consumer.
For example, if a new fitness franchise opens, offering the typical physical fitness conditioning benefits such as strength, endurance, cardio, flexibility, etc., they can be missing the much larger opportunity for fitness, which in today’s changing stress context, can be redefined to include mental and emotional fitness. This different conceptual approach to fitness creates a unique selling proposition against the competition, along with a far broader variety of opportunities for products and programs, directly in alignment with the rapidly changing real “fitness” demands of the culture.
Many companies today have fantastic creative teams with exciting and compelling strategies to “catch” a person’s attention, but in doing so, they rely on stagnant methods of customer knowledge and awareness. The assumption is often made that exceptional creative process will automatically “translate” to the important customer next step of developing a positive attitude toward a product or service, and subsequently the action to purchase the product or service. But attention is not enough. Many things catch a person’s attention, only to fall flat shortly afterward if the attention is not “tailor made” to fit the individual differences of the consumer. Integrating a wider variety of product dimensions in new and exciting ways in order to match today’s changing and diversified consumers is the necessary next step to create attention. This can take place best, when the needs and wants of the customer are mirrored in alignment with all of the potential product assets and potentials.