Are you credible and relevant? Getting behind your assumptions
We see this question in surveys all the time.
How important to you are ... followed by a list of items.
How important to you are the following?
Networking opportunities with other professionals
Professional development opportunities
A free and democratic society
Having clean socks in your drawer
[Okay, I admit it, I added the last two.]
Actually, all of these things are important to me. But I don't expect my professional associations to look after getting me clean socks. Or keeping my country free and democratic.
The challenge with this kind of thing is, the hidden assumption is that these are benefits that the questioner believes they are offering.
As marketers and business people, we are all trying to define a space, set priorities and get clarity. And there's not a thing wrong with that. But we also have to get beneath our assumptions.
It may be that some of the features and benefits you think are core to your offering are not core.
A free and democratic society is important to many people, but that does not mean they see your particular political party or lobby group as a credible or relevant standard-bearer in that mission. And even if you are, that does not mean they are willing to join, give money, provide volunteer service or anything else.
To get behind these kinds of assumptions, we need deeper insights into the lives and concerns of our customers, and how else they meet those needs. If you are thinking that is not a simple question, I completely agree.
I'm picking on surveys again, because it is an easy way to illustrate the problem. It's not about how you ask the question. It's really about what questions you ask.