Whether they are users or the customers, the question is: “What’s in it for me?”  Although many people won’t say that aloud, they’re thinking it anytime someone tries to sell them something.

When you are communicating about your business, your message may vary depending on whether you are speaking to a user of your product, a customer, a prospect, a strategic partner, or even an investor.  Quite often, the user and customer are given the same message which confuses why they should value your product and thus, this typically results in them NOT buying your product.

Recently, we did a post about the importance of your value proposition.  Specifically, we mentioned how people don’t buy what they don’t understand.  Buying decisions weigh heavily on WIFM (what’s in it for me) so it must be very clear why a user or customer should even listen to your message or consider your offering. For purposes of digging deeper into this topic, we will clarify the importance of aligning your message with your intended audience and defining who your users and customers truly are.

People don't buy what they don't understand Share on X

User vs. Customer

First, let’s define user.  A user of your product (or service) is the individual or entity that actually uses your product.  They are sometimes called the “end-user.”  They are the true consumer of your product although they may not pay for it.  Confusing?  Let us explain:  Many times the user of your product is NOT your customer (and that’s quite okay–you just need to realize it).  The customer is the individual or entity that pays for your product (or service) or makes the purchasing decision.

Many times the user of your product is NOT your customer Share on X

In many businesses, the customer and the user are different entities.  It’s important to understand this because as a company who needs both parties to buy into what you’re selling, your communications with each will vary because the benefits they each gain from engaging with your company is different.  Also, keep in mind that although the user may not be signing the check to buy from your company, they typically have heavy influence on the purchasing decisions because of their direct relationship with the purchaser.

The user and the customer can be, and quite often is, two different entities Share on X

Facebook and Microsoft

Think about it:  Facebook has billions of users who create accounts, share updates, consume information, play games, and overall utilize the platform for free.  However, businesses that advertise on Facebook are their actual customers.  They pay Facebook to extract their intended value from utilizing the platform.  The value businesses gain from Facebook is awareness and sales for their business from the free users of Facebook. This example applies to most social media platforms (i.e. Instagram, YouTubeLinkedIn, Twitter, Google,).

Businesses that advertise on Facebook are their actual customers, not the free users Share on X

Here’s another example:  Microsoft 365 Enterprise software is purchased by the Finance and IT department heads of companies all over the world.  However, the end-users of the product are the employees of the company.  Therefore, Microsoft’s message must be one that conveys value (i.e. performance, system compatibility, seamless integration, security, productivity, etc.) to the company heads who approves the purchase as well as ease-of-use, creativity, collaboration, and mobility for the employees of the company–the users.   As you can see, these messages are very different.  Influencing company heads to purchase the product requires more technical, data-driven information whereas for employees, appealing to emotions–feelings of concern and resistance to change, must be addressed.

Now that the topic of users and customers are clarified, does your business appeal to both in your sales and marketing messages?  If not, some adjustments can make huge differences in sales for your business.

Need help?  Contact TPM Focus for more information. Many times, an outsider’s objective look and input is just what you need to inject new energy into your business.

Many times, an outsider's objective look and input is just what you need to inject new energy into your business. Share on X

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