Biz Tips: There’s Only One Customer You’ll Truly Understand

Biz Tips: There’s Only One Customer You’ll Truly Understand


There’s Only One Customer You’ll Truly Understand

Photo by Tegan Mierle on Unsplash

… and that’s the one from your own community.

True empathy only exists between people who are shared members of one single community.

As Mark Tarrent has found out in his research, the amount of empathy people show for out-group members is incredibly low. So low, in fact, that it has made some of history’s most cruelsome events possible.

Think of the holocaust.

It has only become possible, because a large number of Germans at the time, were perceiving Jews as outsiders. These people didn’t accept the Jews as being part of their own community.

Rather, they saw them as a threat to their own community. They were justifying their horrible actions by labelling the Jews as the enemy.

They acted in completely inhuman ways, with the only justification being that these people do not belong to us.

The fact that this is possible, is already horrible enough.

What makes it even scarier, is that it doesn’t take much for us to see groups of people as the other.

Research has found that it can be enough to give one group of people green t-shirts, and another group of people red t-shirts, for people to start categorising one another.

Once such a boundary is in place, effects are measurable. Empathy towards the other group is shrinking. Perceived levels of trustworthiness are declining. The degree to which people assign negative attitudes to one another is rising.

Here’s a truth that we need to keep in mind:

We only understand people with whom we share a common connection.

More precisely — we only want to understand people with whom we share a common connection.

As for the rest… they will always remain the “other”.

Your own community

Your own community is the kind of people with whom you have a lot in common. When I was living in Australia, for example, I joined the start-up community.

What we shared in common was that we all had nothing but a burning desire to build a successful business.

These are the people whom I understood.

Not only did I spend every single day with them, but we also went through similar challenges every single day.

Building a highly sophisticated product from scratch.

Having to work long hours.

Struggling hard to pay the bills.

It was exactly these challenges which were creating bonds between us. We were sharing our greatest fears, our goals, and our problems with one another.

And, we were supporting each other wherever we could.

How about you?

Are you part of at least one such community? A community that you understand with all your heart.

If you are, then that’s the group of people who should be your target customers.

You know their problems.

Being around your community members every single day, you understand their problems better than anybody else. You know exactly what they are struggling with, and what they are going through emotionally.

After all, you yourself are going through the same challenges as they do.

You don’t need focus group discussions. You don’t need surveys. You don’t need any kind of formal marketing research.

But you need to understand their problems.

To do that, you need to both listen and observe. You need to be there for your community members. You need to be the one who pays attention to their needs. You need to be the one who notices the things that trouble people.

When you truly understand their problems, you can find a solution.

You can build a solution that is deeply grounded in the needs of your target customer. With that, you’ll be far ahead of those businesses who think that they understand this customer group, but really don’t.

Maintain a real connection

By definition, you are going to be different from all those other businesses out there. Why? Because you are a trusted member of their community, with real connections to the people, who are part of it.

Make sure that things stay this way.

Don’t turn into a faceless business, that cares about nothing but profit.

Let the people feel that you really care about them. Build real connections with them. Be their friend, supporter, and adviser. Help them in any way you possibly can.

Let money be your second priority.

Focus on building something, that truly makes a difference in peoples lives. Show people that it is them, who you most care about. Build something truly meaningful to them, and they will be your most loyal customers.

You won’t need any fancy marketing tactics for this. All you are going to need, is to remain a trusted member of the community. Somebody, who people know that they can rely on.

All you will have to do is to stay in touch with people and to focus on providing value for them.

This is what truly builds a tribe of loyal customers.


Of course, this approach to building a business is not aimed at scaling into a large multi-national company. The goal is to build a small business that sustains your lifestyle, and makes a real contribution.

In my opinion, this is also the most personally rewarding business one could possibly build.


Because it allows you to be embedded in community. You are going to feel a real sense of belonging to these people. And you are going to enjoy improving the lives of people, whom you care about.

As a result, you are going to have customers for life. These are going to be the kind of customers, who are buying everything you produce. Sharing all your stuff with their friends. And supporting you in any way they can.

They know that you will do the same for them.

So, there is only one last open question:

What if you are not a member of any particular community yet? Especially one that you consider as a potential market?

Well, then you need to find one.

You need to join it, and slowly start building a relationship with these people. Take it slow. Step by step, become a trusted member of the community. Listen to their problems. Identify their needs.

And eventually, build a product that they will really appreciate.

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