Perception Is Reality – Seeing The World Through Your Customers’ Eyes

Beloit College recently released their Mindset List for the class of 2016. This year’s list contains 75 items that provide a look at the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of this fall’s entering class.  Most of this year’s freshmen were born in 1994. Just for fun, take a look at the world through their eyes:

  • Since they’ve been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percent jump in unemployment and a 16 cent rise in the price of a first class postage stamp.
  • They can’t picture people actually carrying luggage through airports rather than rolling it.
  • They have never seen an airplane “ticket.”
  • Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.
  • Probably the most tribal generation in history, they despise being separated from contact with their similar-aged friends.
  • They have always enjoyed school and summer camp memories with a digital yearbook.
  • The Twilight Zone involves vampires, not Rod Serling.
  • Point-and-shoot cameras are soooooo last millennium.
  • Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive baseball games played has never stood in their lifetimes.

In general, the Mindset List is a statement of experiences and events that shape the views of this year’s freshmen. And since most people believe their views are accurate it must also represent their understanding of the truth. The perception is the reality.

Marketing is involved in the process of dealing with perceptions, and this is tricky. What makes the process even more challenging is that consumers frequently make purchasing decisions based on second-hand perceptions (friends, family and other social connections). In short, they make purchasing decisions based on someone else’s perception of reality.

If your organization views the world through a product-centric position you may be inclined to dismiss the perception challenge. Market research facts and figures convince you that the real truth is on your side and that the best product – your product — will win. Do you believe that all you need is to have the truth on your side? If so, you may need to modify your perceptions and embrace the phrase “through the eyes of the customer.”

How does your business tap into the mindset of your customers? What techniques do you use to effectively market to the perceptions of your customers and their influencers?

Alan See is the Chief Marketing Officer at Alan See CMO Temps, LLC. He has written this guest post for the Networking Exchange Blog.


Alan See Chief Marketing Officer Alan See CMO Temps. About Alan