By Tom Phillips, Planning Partner


How can we get closer to customers?


Employ toddlers.


Well, maybe not real 3-year-olds. But certainly people who can think (rather than act) like toddlers.




That’s exactly the question that needs to be asked. Possibly repeatedly, like any slightly annoying three-nager trying to get you to explain something awkward at the most inappropriate moment.


‘Why?’ is a powerful question. Ask it enough times in any organisation, and the inward-looking justifications and motivators are soon replaced with the more important outward ones. You can then explore the rational and emotional reasons that drive customers to spend time or money with your brand over an alternative.


Now, I’ve not said anything you didn’t appreciate. But of course the art (and science) of truly understanding customers lies in having the curiosity and innocence of that toddler – backed up with the cognitive processing of a supercomputer to ensure those ‘Why?’ questions unearth the truths in customer behaviour.


At MRM Meteorite, we call this data-set and mind-set thinking. It sits at the heart of the way our strategy team think, are structured and work with clients.


Data-set thinking focuses on the ‘what’ – the behaviours, profiles and outcomes that can be gleaned from the primary, secondary and tertiary data sources available. Through data exploration, we identify the anomalies and differentiators. Gone are the days when knowing a customer was about having their name, address and Mosaic code. Today it’s about location, engagement and connecting identifiers so that, even if we don’t know their name, we do understand their behaviour across the customer journey and touchpoints.


Mind-set thinking focuses on the ‘why’ – the attitudes and personas behind the behaviours we observe. It feeds off and fuels our data-set thinking, exploring the rational and emotional drivers of customer actions via research, ethnography and experience-mapping.


Together, these approaches allow us to create ‘5Cs Truth Maps’ that synthesise and get right to the bottom of the motivators that drive customer behavior. They also help inform our customer need-state classifications and experience design, which ultimately allows us to create engagements that resonate.


Our 5Cs Truth Map

5c template


In terms of ROMI, our approach enabled The Guardian to hugely increase its customer acquisition and data-capture rates, as well as its email open rate (up 124%), open-to-click-through rate (up 237%) and conversion rate (up 80%).


Similar methods enabled Homebase to see that customers who bought batteries, lightbulbs and birdseed were their most likely kitchen customers in the following month.


The question is, why wouldn’t you want to find out more about your customers?


If you’d like to see how we help our clients get results by understanding their customers better, have a longer look at what we do and get in touch – we’d love to help.