Being Market-Oriented Means Thinking About People!


Last time I talked about market orientation as one of the key ways that we can all make our way forward in the world going forward. 

And, part of being market-oriented is understanding people. 

I’ve said a few things over the years about being a successful marketer:

  • You need to be empathetic.
  • You have to be able to figure out how to connect with people emotionally. 
  • You have to be consistent. 

When I was thinking through those things and viewing it through the lens of Rutger’s book, it got me to thinking about a few ideas that may help all of us move forward as we continue to work through the pandemic and get to the other side of this thing…whenever we truly put it to rest. 

Being empathetic means:

We have to be able to understand that everyone is dealing with something right now, even if they think they are holding up well. 

If you achieve market orientation, you will have achieved the process of taking yourself out of the equation of selling whatever you are selling it and instead turned your viewfinder around to see your business or service through the eyes of the folks that you are trying to serve. 

When I was in Melbourne last year, delivering a workshop, I hit on a theme a lot that day: “You are not your market.” 

It is true. 

To be empathetic and lead your way through the pandemic, you need to remember that you are not your market and your customers don’t see things the way that you do. 

Connecting with folks emotionally: 

There is a concept in marketing called “The Benefit Ladder”. 

It is a pretty easy idea to understand, every step of the ladder gives you a different perspective to consider for your customer. 

The higher up the ladder you go, the better you are able to connect your product or service with an emotional aspect of your customer’s needs. 

You can’t do this 100% of the time, but you can do it a lot more than you think. 

The key here is that as we move through the pandemic, a product level pitch or proposition isn’t likely to be as powerful as it might have been before…even if you end up being a commodity. 


Well, folks are dealing with a crisis that has multiple components including financial, emotional, and health. 

So folks are concerned, worried, bitter, mad, and a lot of other emotions. 

For you, the key idea is going to be putting yourself in the position to address the emotional aspects of the decision for your customers. 

You will help take a load off of the people you serve and you’ll likely deepen your relationship with your customers as well. 

They’ll likely feel like you “know” them. 

Being consistent: 

Going back to the point above, folks are overwhelmed and overburdened right now. 

Even where their countries and populations are doing a good job with the virus, it is stressful. 

Don’t even get me started on what it can feel like living in the States some days. 

But part of success now is being consistent in delivering your message to the folks you serve. 

In general, I’ve found that it can take you more than once to get folks to begin to take the marketing or sales journey with you. 

So as you try and do marketing and sales right now, recognize that your message may get lost the first time. And, that’s okay. 

The key here is that you need to focus on developing a cadence to your outreach, building a process, and being consistent. 

Your message might be different. Your response rates might have changed. And, you may feel like everything you are doing is pointless, but as I’ve mentioned before about The Stockdale Paradox in the past, you have to go through this and you know it will suck, but that doesn’t give you the right to stop. 


BTW, I’ve been reading a really interesting book the last day or two called Humankind. It is by a guy called Rutger Bregman and it talks about being hopeful about the future because we have a bias towards the negative that comes out of an evolutionary need to avoid danger and the way that our media diet feeds us the worst-case scenario even when the data tells a different story. Right now, it is a great book to have in my head.

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