Big judgments on little info—understanding how your customers think
Your customers are bombarded everyday with thousands of brand images and sales pitches. “In order to survive the onslaught of choices, customers make snap judgments.” I read this in a book that was recommended to me entitled All Marketers Are Liars, by author and marketing guru Seth Godin. What’s fascinating about most of us is that we consistently make judgments on very little information. In effect, customers absorb little bits of information (like seeing your logo, business card or web site) and then make judgments and predictions about your business based on the little input they’ve been exposed to.
Don’t believe me?
Well, have you ever made up your mind about a political candidate without ever meeting her/him? How about picking a movie based on the ads in the paper? If you shop online, do you make a decision on how reputable the company is based on their website? Yep, we all make snap decisions. This is the reason that speed dating has been so popular and effective for people—we all make snap judgments based on a first impression.
The truth is, we as customers make up our minds instantly-and according to All Marketers Are Liars. What’s more, customers then stick to those decisions like a barnacle on a sailboat. Once the snap decision has been made, customers seek out information that supports their snap judgments and ignore information that doesn’t. For customers, this approach saves an immense amount of time and keeps them from going nuts. For savvy small business owners, this screams, “My first impression better be a good one.” This means your logo, online marketing videos, business card, website, signage and brochures—all of them—need to be professional.
So what does all this mean to your small business?
This is why having a professional, marketing-focused and consistent business identity is absolutely critical if you want to grow your company. The truth is, your customers make snap judgments, and once those decisions are made, they are tough to change. People just don’t like admitting when they’re wrong or that they’ve made a mistake. Potential customers won’t give you a second chance on making the initial impression, and they won’t tell you flat out that your online YouTube marketing video, your website, or your business card looked cheap and amateurish. However, they may assume that because your business brand is cheap/low quality, you might be as well. Many won’t say anything to you at all, but they will look for someone else to do business with.