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Are you marketing to ‘ghost’​ customers?

by Innovationbubble | 5th Oct 2018 | posted to Insights, Marketing, Press

Hands up if you answer yes to any of the following:

Our customers (B2B and B2C) actual behaviour is different to what they tell us they want/will do/won’t do.

The data we collect on our customers doesn’t really enable us to predict how to best engage them….

When we provide what customers tell us they want it makes minimal difference to sales/churn/on-boarding….

If you did answer yes to any of the above (or indeed all of the above) then your organisation is probably suffering from ‘projective marketing/positioning’.

Projective marketing or positioning is where you are trying to engage or communicate to an altered reality version of you target consumer. In other words you are wasting time, budget and resources building communications for a ‘ghost consumer’. One who actually does not exist!

A ‘ghost consumer’ is the alter ego of the real consumer. Much of the data that is collected on consumers is based on rationalised, ego protected and fear of ostracisation. Consumers are not responding to your surveys, questionnaires or interviews based on who they actually are, but who they ideally would like to be or who they know they should not be.

In psychology this is called the difference between the Actual, ideal or avoidant self.

The actual self is who we are really.

The ideal self is who we strive to be.

The avoidant self is who we know is not acceptable to be.

The problem is that most data collection methods cannot differentiate reliably between these three selves and so the data is inaccurate. Which might explain why you don’t really see the dials move too much when you try and build against what your consumers are telling you.

If you want cleaner more predictive data then you need to distinguish between your target consumers actual, ideal and avoidant selves. Only then will you have more predictive ability in terms of increasing market potential or reducing churn. To do that you need to invest in some psychology support.

Find how psychology and behavioural science can move your dials and stop you wasting money, time and resources speaking to ghost customers.