Give Them What They Want...Or Somebody Else Will

In the Chapman household, we do our best to eat sensibly and healthy more often than not. One of the ways we accomplish this is by scrutinizing the ingredient labels on all the food we purchase (thanks Christy). As I've come to learn, one ingredient we do our best to avoid is high-fructose corn syrup.

I like my sauces when it comes to food. Salsa, ketchup, hot sauce, and various marinades usually show up in some form on our table. Up until I met Christy, I had used Heinz brand ketchup my entire life. Since I never inspected labels myself, I didn't know that Heinz ketchup contains high-fructose corn syrup.

Based on this fact, we switched ketchup brands many years ago to Annie's brand ketchup which has the ingredients we're after. We were a bit puzzled by Heinz when we travelled to Australia and Europe and found the same Heinz ketchup in those markets does not contain the high-fructose corn syrup (and it tasted the same to us). Why does it have it in the US? My guess…profitability!

It really doesn't matter why they put that ingredient in the product. All that matters is we're the customer. Therefore, it's about us, not them! Regardless of Heinz reason for their ingredient choice, we switched brands because they could not meet our needs. They could not provide us what we desired, so we found another company that could. It's simple, right?

Think about this in your business. Ketchup is an interchangeable product with all the services we all provide. It could be after hours service, on time appointments, well trained front line team members, great customer service agents, and many, many more. You probably know already what the "ketchup" could be for your company (and no, it's not always price!)

If your customer’s wants, needs, and desires are not being met effectively they will switch brands in an instant, just like we did. They have so many choices and options when it comes to companies that provide our services, we must always be improving our service delivery processes.

We were recently in a natural grocery store in Scottsdale and I noticed that Heinz has a new ketchup product called Simply Heinz. I wasn't surprised when I picked up the bottle and looked through ingredients to find NO high-fructose corn syrup.

Now the big question: will we switch back? I grew up on Heinz. It's familiar. It's the only ketchup I knew. But now, after so many years with a brand that was always conscious of the same things my family is, will we switch back?

Truth is, I don't know. I don't do most of the grocery shopping for the Chapman household, so this will be a Christy decision. See, she's the one they're attempting to sway, not me. I would guess we won't see the new style Heinz in our fridge anytime soon. This is up to Christy, the target customer.

The same is true in your company. You need to know who your perfect customer is. Only once you identify them, can you begin to understand the key things important to them. The reality is that Christy is much more an Annie's target customer than Heinz. This is all good. Heinz does just fine without her.

You can't be all things to all people, so redefine who you want to be everything to, and build your process, training, and culture around this target. Ferrari could care less that Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai are going head to head for the top spot, because they know who their customer is. Then they put all their time, energy and investments to satisfy that target’s needs regarding Ferrari products.

What's your ketchup? Who's your Christy? Where do you need to improve to keep them happier and attract more just like them? It takes focus and discipline, but this clarity will set you free and greatly improve your bottom line!



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