Focused Too Tight? (Issue 766)

In which we are reminded not to limit our explorations with clients and prospects to those issues in which they express interest or which they purchase.

“You know how Amazon and others watch your purchases and start to push you things they think you’d be interested in?” asked one of my friends.

“Yes,” I allowed, “I’ve had some experience with that.”

“Most women would get ads for jewelry or scarves or cosmetics. I get DKH hardware trying to sell me storm window frames, long-life batteries for my handheld drill, snow blowers, gutter equipment, and hints about where to get discount chain saws.”

She’s in the middle of a significant house renovation project and, even on a good day, searches for home-improvement stuff.

“Sounds like you’d prefer something else,” I offered, trying to sound nonchalant.

“I’m just saying….”

After a moment’s thought, I suggested, “Maybe you should change your searches?”

Long stare.

“You’d like them to look at the whole you rather than just the part that’s searching for drill bits.”

“Something like that.”

I let it go for a few minutes.

“How would they know about the whole you if they only see the construction you?” I wondered, aloud.

Well, that was a mistake (but, never mind) because the answer, obviously, is “they should just know, they have all this data, isn’t it a reasonable conclusion?”

Possibly, it is. On line retailers tend to draw conclusions based on our searches and purchases. They also tend to suggest “you might also be interested in” in a narrow band around our searches and purchases even though there is a wealth of other information available. Many times, we fall into the same trap, assuming (even ‘though there is a wealth of other data available) that ‘what our clients ask about’ or ‘what our clients buy from us’ represents the full spectrum of their possible interests or needs and… of course…. they don’t.

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