October 13, 2021
Case Study

3 types of customer needs (and how companies solved these needs with their marketing)


How can you make your customers’ lives easier? Help them save money and live a life in tune with their values? Perform better at work?

The answers to questions like these are the core of successful marketing strategies.

To help inspire your next strategy, read on for examples from an app, skin care product, and digital signage service.

by Daniel Burstein, Senior Director, Content & Marketing, MarketingSherpa and MECLABS Institute

3 types of customer needs (and how companies solved these needs with their marketing)

This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.

One of the hardest things in life is seeing a situation through someone else’s eyes, as we discussed in our latest podcast excerpt:

Well, buckle up marketers. Because seeing a situation through someone else’s eyes should be in the job description of every marketer.

The “someone else’s eyes” I’m talking about are, of course, current and potential customers. The situation tends to be one involving your product or service. And to make the task even harder, we are blinded by our own self-interest – our success relies on getting a customer to take an action.

If you’re not careful, your approach to marketing will myopically focus on that conversion action alone: “What do people need? The offer we’re currently pushing.”

Instead, try starting with the customer benefit and build the offering around that.

To spark your creative thinking, in this article we bring you three quick case studies.

First, a skin care products company that focused on customers’ need to save – both money and the environment. Next, a digital sign service that helped customers overcome a friction-filled process dictated by law. And finally, an app that shared its aggregated data to tap into customers’ need to improve job performance.

Quick Case Study #1: Skin care products company launched refill program; it becomes 15% of the business

ScrubzBody launched its refill program to save customers money and help the environment. When the team started its refill program, they used promotional names like “Wild Wednesday” or “Filler-Up Fridays.” The team offered three scents that rotated weekly, and customers could save 30%.

Customers started asking if the company could make the refill offer available everyday and if more fragrances could be added. When the company moved to a larger space, they were able to make these changes.

Now 15% of the company’s bottom line comes from people refilling their jars. Plus, more than half the time when customers come in for a refill, they purchase something else.

“Win/win for sure. Less trash for the Earth. Less money for my customers. It was the ultimate in customer service and has become a huge sales boon for us as well,” said Roberta Perry, Owner, ScrubzBody.

Quick Case Study #2: Digital sign company finds new way to serve customers during COVID-19 bar and restaurant closures, increases rebate redemption rate from 3% to 15%

Barcast provides a digital signage service to bars and restaurants with on-demand content and mobile messaging tools. “Our number one thing is to make advertising more accountable,” said Alex Mauritz, Co-founder and CEO, Barcast. “Let’s give great deals and real value that’s transparent. Let’s give value upfront and be transparent that you’re going to get subsequent offers.”

When the COVID-19 pandemic caused many bars and restaurants to face repeated closures, Barcast needed to develop a new strategy – engage shoppers at liquor stores (which were still open). And they wanted to approach this new customer engagement with the same ethos of providing value to the customer. The team found a way a new way to collect first-party data while solving a customer problem.

In Oregon, the company’s primary state of business, liquor laws prohibit discounting alcoholic beverages. However, customers can mail in a proof of purchase to receive a rebate.

Previously, this system was ineffective. Sending a letter via snail mail involved too many steps to be attractive to customers, and rebates were rarely claimed. The team at Barcast created a solution to help customers while pivoting its business during the pandemic.

The company attached advertising to each alcoholic beverage telling buyers to text a photo of their receipt to a phone number to obtain a rebate. It verified the customer’s eligibility and sent a confirmation via text and then sent eligible customers a check or Venmo transfer with their rebate.

“It is a low-friction entry point,” said Mauritz. “We’ve got these hooks that get people in and then we can send them a customized follow-up offer. It’s super effective and resonates with everyone we work with.”

The ability to automate and pivot helped Barcast find new business during the pandemic. The redemption rate for rebates from retail establishments was previously around two percent to three percent. Barcast’s redemption rates via text message are in the 15 to 20 percent range. Rebate users now submit an average of 1.5 rebates per month.

The rebates became the fastest growing element and the most interesting component of Barcast’s pitches to new clients. They are now in the process of getting approvals to roll the product out in most states nationwide. “This text rebate product was the gem of our offering and has allowed us to stay afloat,” said Mauritz.

“Texting is super underrated as an advertising method if you do it right. You can get spammy messages that are a major turnoff but one of our goals is to create that awesome user experience where you get something of value upfront. If you do it right, delivering consistent value to the customer, being transparent about how you use their information, I think it’s a super undervalued method,” said Mauritz.

Quick Case Study #3: Software company gets 4% conversion rate by using aggregating its data to help customers make better decisions

Most B2B (business-to-business) companies have a vast amount of data. By sharing that data with your customers, you can help them do their job better.

“One thing that we do every year that gets results is publish an annual proposal report,” said Snizhana Kolomiets, Marketing Manager, Better Proposals.

Creative Sample #1: Excerpt from software company’s annual proposal report

Creative Sample #1: Excerpt from software company’s annual proposal report

In essence, the company publishes a webpage that give users ideas for creating more effective proposals based on statistics pulled from its aggregated app data. The data is there to help customers make better decisions – show them what makes their clients convert better and what kind of proposals are more effective.

This page gets similar traffic as the company’s most popular blog posts – several thousand views per month on average. However, the conversion rates are always at least double – four to five percent on average.

“The reason is simple – the content is super helpful and convincing and it shows data backed by research instead of fluffy marketing copy,” Kolomiets said.

Related resources

Conversion Rate Optimization Live Stream: Live optimization with Flint McGlaughlin, Founder, MECLABS – Join the CEO of MarketingSherpa and MECLABS on Thursday, October 21st at 1 p.m. EDT (replay is available immediately after the live session at the same link)

Become a Master at Creating and Optimizing High-Converting Webpages – The course is fully underwritten by MECLABS Institute (parent organization of MarketingSherpa), with no monetary cost to participants

5 mini case studies about understanding and serving the customer

Customer-First Marketing Chart: Customers share how often companies put their needs first

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