Customers Rock!

A blog about customers, their experiences, and how businesses can make sure their customer experiences rock!

Through the Eyes of Others

Posted by Becky Carroll on March 6, 2007

big.jpgI just watched one of my favorite movies this weekend, Big.  Starring a young Tom Hanks, it is about a 12-year old boy who accidentally becomes a 30 year old man overnight.  One of the things I like about the movie is its view of the corporate marketing world through the eyes of a boy. 

In particular, there is one scene where Hanks’ character, Josh, is in FAO Schwarz, a very hands-on toy store (Josh got a job at a toy company).  The CEO of the company where Josh works, Mr. MacMillan, runs into him there at the store.  Recognizing Josh as an employee, they start talking, and MacMillan realizes that this young man has a different perspective on the toys in the store.  As they are watching kids play with the toys, they talk about what they are seeing.  Here is part of the interchange (from IMDb.com):

MacMillan: I come down here every Saturday.  You can’t see this on a marketing report.
Josh: Um, what’s a marketing report?
MacMillan: Exactly.

When Hanks was preparing for the role of a 12-year old boy stuck in a man’s body, he watched tapes of his co-star, David Moscow (who plays Josh at age 12) to see how he behaves and acts.  The director of the movie, Penny Marshall, also filmed each “grown-up” scene with Moscow playing the part of Josh so Hanks could see how a 12-year old might handle that situation.  The result is true insight into the mind of a young boy.

How much insight do you have into the mind of your customers?  Do you know them?  How well?  Do you take the time to understand how they interact with your products or services?

We can learn a lot from the MacMillan character.  This executive spent time at a retailer watching his customers interact with his product.  He also hired a specialist (Josh) whose sole purpose it was to show the company what their customers needed from them.

I’ve blogged on this concept before, talking about how the grandson of the founder gets out with Harley-Davidson customers and rides with them

We need to do more than just watch tapes of focus groups.  We need to get to know our customers, their wants and needs, their frustrations with us, and their raves about us.  You need to see your company through the eyes of your customers.

Tomorrow, I will post some practical methods for getting to know your customers better.  Stay tuned!

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3 Responses to “Through the Eyes of Others”

  1. Thank you. This is great:

    MacMillan: I come down here every Saturday. You can’t see this on a marketing report.
    Josh: Um, what’s a marketing report?
    MacMillan: Exactly.

    We marketers need to get out of our offices and touch real people, appropriately, of course.

  2. Thanks, Lewis! That is one of the best lines in the movie.

    Marketing is definitely about the people, and it is hard to understand them without personally interacting with them. Too many marketing and research reports are summaries of information, and key insights are lost with the details. That is why I am such as advocate of either touching customers personally (and appropriately, as you said!) or of reading verbatim customer comments.

  3. [...] “We need to get to know our customers, their wants and needs, their frustrations with us, and their r….” [...]

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