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But What Do Your Customers Want?

What do your customers want?

Over the past 15 years I’ve heard business owners give every excuse for why they don’t give customers what the customers want.

“But I don’t want to sell the digital images.”
“But SEO is more important than PPC.”
“But our competitors don’t do it that way.”
“But building a list is harder & slower than paying for AdWords.”
“But that’s not what I wanted to do with my life.”

It is understandable that business owners go into business with an idea, an inspiration, a goal, dream or hope. What’s not understandable is the unwavering decision not to adapt to the market.

Mike Tyson once said that “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” When a boxer gets “punched in the mouth” they have a choice: adapt or get knocked out. Mercifully, boxing rounds last only a couple minutes and it stops.


Business is often similar to the above except there are no rounds. Nobody calls time, stops us, or tells us when it’s time to quit.  We go in with a plan and then BAM! The market kicks the snot out of our plan. But without rounds, we keep swinging. Sometimes wildly, sometimes for no reason or even at the wrong person. We need to quickly adapt or we will get punched again.

You don’t want to sell digital images but enough of your competitors don’t mind. They’re happy to take the money and put you out of business. They charge too little? So did many of us, once. Then we get cocky on success, raised prices and lost our referral base. Me? I like money.

You don’t want to offer email marketing because “you tried that once and it didn’t work?” Most of the best marketing agencies in the world offer email service. So which is it: you don’t want to be the best or you don’t want it to be difficult?

Twitter (then Odeo) was a podcasting company. Flickr started life as a role playing game. Without adapting they would be gone.  So what’s the point? Pivot? Change your whole business model? Your whole life?

The point is to be aware that what you want to sell and what someone wants to part with money for may be different.  If you are in business to make money, ask the most important question:

“But what do your customers want?”

About Matt Antonino

Matt is a marketing consultant in Melbourne, Australia. He teaches businesses to market smarter and faster through multichannel marketing including SEO & Content Marketing, SEM, Email & Social Media.

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