Outside-in. The Perspective That Creates Market-Fit and Commercial Growth
How many consumers would miss your brand if you stopped selling your products today? Very likely, a lot less than you would like to admit. But don’t despair; let it incite more creativity and boldness in your branding. Time to engage your audience.
When you start at a company, you have a unique opportunity. You bring a fresh outside-in perspective to your organisation. You can see everything more clearly and how it actually is in the market. Unfortunately, you get tangled up in work over time and like the rest, fool yourselves that everybody is also thinking about your brand when, to most people, your product is just a product in the cupboard. So, how do you maintain that initial fresh outside-in perspective?
The solution is to recalibrate yourself. It requires a deeper understanding of how your product and brand can help consumers achieve their goals, solve their problems and make them feel good. They are the hero, and you are their helper.
Nurture Your Outside-in Perspective
To get a better understanding of your consumers, talk to them. Be curious about (their) life. Read up on what they are reading, seeing, enjoying, consuming, and so on. Place yourself in their shoes and get beneath the surface. You’ll be amazed by what you will discover.
Now, you might say, our consumers’ don’t know what they want. They would only want more of the same thing. And yes, you’re partly right. Asking the consumer could end up in disastrous innovations like a pepperoni pizza topped with M&M’s, barbecue chicken and whipped cream. So, what can you do if you can’t ask consumers directly? You need to understand the context they are living in.
Maintaining and nurturing an outside-in perspective requires regular research and context analysis. Feel free to use our context tool, the 4Cs. Investigate what motivates and stops consumers from acting. It is the knowledge you extract from qualitative and quantitative data, so you not only know what people are saying – but why they are saying it.
You Can’t Be Your Own Target Group
Today, some organisations claim to be consumer-orientated when really they are company-orientated, letting internal logic overrule most decisions. To change this perspective, you need consumers’ interests represented at board and direction levels. This should be a top priority for any CMO at every company because doing so will benefit everyone in the organisation.
Be the voice of the market. Because insights come from the market and rarely from the brand itself. That is why you must immerse yourself in the market and the consumers’ world. It is demanding to do consumer interviews, extract insights and implement them in your marketing and product development. But it will be worth your while.
Free Yourself to Seize What’s Next
Blockbuster vs Netflix. You would rather be the latter than the former, as Blockbuster became obsolete because they were (un)intentionally unaware of their surroundings for way too long. They fooled themselves into thinking that their internal logic and perception of reality was the actual reality. But times changed, and quickly they got left behind because they lacked the fresh and honest perspective.
When you’re truly consumer-orientated, it will guide your products, projects and branding. It will dictate how you spend your time and resources and lead the way you are heading. You’ll be able to kill darlings more easily, which would otherwise limit you. Ultimately, it will be worth it because the outside-in perspective will (re)create market-fit and grow your brand and business. Always be outside-in. It really is that simple.