Seek to Understand

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to read minds? Think about all of the happiness and achievement that could happen then. If you could know what the customers thought about your product and your service and their secret wishes for what it could be…wouldn’t that be awesome? What if you could find out all of the good things they said about you and your products to others? That would be worth a lot, not only in additional sales but in better employee morale.

So let’s think about this for a moment. How can you go about getting this understanding?

This is not a lead in to big data. It’s about talking with your customers. It is also about understanding that what is important to your customer may not be the inputs you have top of mind.

As your customers start going to the fields, planning cycles for 2015 begin. Part of that cycle, as Steven Covey says best, “you need to seek to understand.” There is nothing more valuable than conversations with your customers. Today they can happen in so many ways. Since January we have facilitated tens of thousands of conversations with our clients’ customers, providing information that can impact business results. This time of year, we seek to understand and gain perceptions, perspectives and amazing insight that helps marketers make critical planning decisions.

Understanding also helps you as marketers validate your value proposition. Today, producers aren’t nearly as concerned with the difference between 90% and 95% effectiveness as they are with increasing profits, saving time, or gaining peace of mind. Which one of these is delivered in your value proposition?

Finally, understand what is most important to your customers. What is top of mind for them? Purdue’s Center for Agriculture Business’ large commercial producer study tells us your customers’ concerns are more related to enterprise than inputs. Cash Flow, Labor Management, Regulations and Marketing continue to top the list.

As you work through your planning processes for 2015, what do you need to talk with your customers about and understand better? If you’d like to learn more about how we can help, send me a quick note at

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