I used a little trick back in the 90s. It was a mini-qualifier. My forecast would get revised by results.
Selling an emergent self-styled market disruptor, which through its marketing materials boldly associated itself with the likes of Mercedes and Rolex, I was wary this projected image may not sit comfortably with prospects who’s offices had not seen any update for over two decades.
I wondered how to glean aspiration level. What eventually worked was uncovering what they’d recently bought. In commercial CapEx terms, you can fairly easily see what’s on show. Like their tech estate, fixtures and fittings, even office sundries. When talking with business owners, it was also useful to find what they’d bought for home. Any gadget, white or brown good. You might even gauge their spot on the adoption curve.
Apparently even someone’s choice of drink can inform you. I recall back at b-school a debate on whether Coca-Cola was the world’s most differentiated good, able to command a considerable price premium. If someone chooses an alternative unlabelled fizzy brown syrup, what would it say about them? Which leads me to the brand compatibility relationship traps bubbling round the web this week.
If you drink Coke but your partner prefers Pepsi then scientists suggest your relationship may be in trouble. Over a length of time, if you continually won out, with their choice sublimated to yours, then the gradual grating could cause a sudden snap, way down the line.
In grown-up terms, have you ever felt pain from dating someone with whom you cannot share your favourite tipple?
This makes me think of a nuance to the old check. Are there business brands that despite being in competitive arenas, you tend to see them in place around your customer base?
In other words, are there unrelated suppliers who’s products are frequently bought by your clients?
And where so, which go through similar value-solution pitches as you?
If you reveal patterns it could just give you an extra percentage point of insight.