In part 2 we’re going to cover:
- What is the Hero’s Journey and Why it Matters
- Understanding the Customer’s Story
- Some Examples of Customer Stories and how to use them in Marketing
What is the Hero’s Journey? And Why does it matter for my Customer Avatar
Some of the greatest movies, books or stories of all time have followed stories of ordinary people going through what is called a hero’s journey. Whether it’s Luke Skywalker going from farmer to Jedi Master, or Frodo leaving the Shire to save Middle Earth they each follow the arc of what is called the Hero’s Journey.
The basic concept is that a Hero begins their journey living an ordinary life and ripped from this ordinary life to do something extraordinary. They often refuse to start with but with the help of a mentor (Obi Wan Kenobi or Gandalf in my 2 examples above) they are able to cross over and begin their journey. They must then face many challenges having both successes and failures where they grow and achieve their reward before going back to their original life but as a changed person (or hobbit).
The value in this concept comes from two points:
- Your Customer is the Hero of their Own Journey
- You should help your customer on their journey as their Mentor or Helper
We all like to think of ourselves as the Hero of our own journey. Whether noticing ourselves first in any picture, or loving to tell a story about yourself, your customer is the hero of their own journey.
In understanding this, you can now position yourself as their mentor or helper to achieve their goals.
Whether you’re a Best Buy and you’re helping your customer look great in front of their family or a restaurant that helps their customers be the hero by letting their friends know the Fastest/Best/Healthiest/Cheapest (or whatever else) restaurant in town.
Now the way to position yourself as their mentor is to show two things:
- You’ve been where they are (that you’ve been ordinary)
- Where you are now, how you overcame the struggles and became extraordinary
This allows you to be real enough to the person you’re trying to help that they don’t think you’re out of this world but instead you are relatable and that you’ve gone through the journey they are seeking to go on and can help them on their journey.
Action Item: Write down 3 ways you can position yourself as a helper or mentor to your ideal client from part 1.
Understanding the Customer’s Story
Once you’ve determined the general demographics of your customers it’s now time to get into their heads. To really understand what it is that drives them, their fears, pains and dreams, and hopes.
While in Part 1 you determined in general who it is that you’re targeting and what their demographics are, you’ll now dive deep into the customer’s story. That step allows you to focus your marketing and sales efforts. You can now create the story that your customers tell about themselves.
One point to clarify is that you’ll often have multiple different customer types as well as different stories that they are living so as you get more advanced you’ll likely have multiple different demographics as well as stories for each demographic.
Here are the questions that you need to answer in order to understand your customer:
- What are their pains? Why are they looking for a solution?
- What are their hopes and dreams?
- Where do they lean politically? Religious affiliation?
- Are they into sports/politics/TV shows etc? If so what specifically?
- What books have they read? What books are they reading now? What Blogs or Podcasts do they listen to?
- Who are their mentors?
- Who are the top 5 people they spend their time with? Are they more focused on their career or their family? Or both?
- Are they undergoing a major life change? Married/Divorced? Having a kid/Empty Nest? A move? A promotion/demotion? Bankruptcy?
- What are their values?
A great tool to use is “Answerthepublic.com”
The greater your understanding of your customer the more real your communication will be with them and the more likely you are to close a deal. Your marketing will also become more effective because you’ll know what not to say as well as what to say. If your ideal customer is a die-hard Republican, creating content that is more pro-Democrat will not only be ignored by your customers but will actively push them away.
Action Item: Draft 1 Customer Story as best as you can.
I’ll now take the 3 fictionary companies from part 1 and go even deeper into their ideal customer.
- For the recruiting company, they are looking for business owners who are either a) expanding their office or they had some recent turnover where they’ll need to replace some of those positions. Their business does between 1-5 Million in yearly revenues. They don’t have an in-house recruiter so they don’t really have the time to go out and recruit for themselves. They’re somewhat business savvy, in that they’ve read a couple of business books. They read their industry-specific magazines and keep up with the latest trends in their industry. They’ve used a recruiter before a couple of times but it didn’t work out well last time so they’re hesitant to use one again but they also know that they don’t have the time to go through resumes themselves because their wife hates when they work 80 hours and it’s burning them out to work that many hours. They have a dream to have a business that really runs itself and to have great employees that stick around for years and grow with them. They take home between 80-100k a year.
Hopefully, the above story gives you so many ideas in how to this kind of customer. There may be multiple stories that your customer is going through but the above one is one where you can now align your content creation as well as your marketing to ensuring that you generate leads and speak accurately to your ideal customer.
- For our local restaurant, let’s say that they sell Mexican food mainly at lunch and dinner time. Their ideal customer is looking for good quality, authentic Mexican food that’s at a decent price and most importantly is quick. There needs to be some room to talk with your work buddies while grabbing lunch. It needs to be within 5-8 minutes from the office. Or separately it needs to be on the way home so that the customer can bring the food home for dinner. The feeling that the customer wants to be solved is having an authentic (like grandma used to make it) meal and they’re willing to pay a little more (not too much more) than going to an American chain restaurant which is just not as authentic. They don’t need a huge menu just 5-8 classic authentic meals.
This gives you an example of not only understanding how to market to a customer but where they are, what their thoughts are and how you can customize your delivery and food and messaging within a physical location to tailor the experience to what the customer wants.
- For our e-commerce business that’s targeting women with a variety of kitchen products, we have to get into their heads a bit more as well. Here we’re looking at a woman that cooks often enough that they can justify in their minds to have nice things so that when they cook it’s done right. They or their household makes above the median income so they like to keep up with the Joneses. She likes to shop online and buy products with good reviews that are made in America as she’s a patriot. She likes helping local/smaller businesses as she had a small business at one point or someone in her family had a small business and she saw how hard these business owners worked. She reads some magazines and loves Oprah. She does most of her purchasing online as she doesn’t like going out due to the pandemic. She tends to run the household and manage the expenses for the home even if she’s also working a full-time job.
In each of the above examples, I painted a picture of your customer so you could better understand your customer.
Action Item: Take the Story you wrote above and flesh it out. If you feel up for it, write a second one!