Why Your Customer’s Needs Are Essential in Content Creation

L&D author, consultant, and ATD speaker Lou Russell explains why it is important to keep your customer’s needs in mind when creating content.

Published on 14 April, 2016 | Last modified on 1 November, 2022

by Lou Russell, CEO, Russell Martin & Associates

When creating content–whether it is for learning and development, marketing, or understanding the scope of a project–you have to always keep the customer’s needs in mind. Ask yourself:

  • Who is your customer?
  • What do you deliver?
  • Is that different than what your customer wants?

Here are two examples:

Human Resources

The scenario:

You are the head of HR and have discovered that the organization’s training program is no longer effective, so you have decided to put in a new Learning Management System so that it is less costly to keep track of training history, competency models and makes it easier to host e-learning.  

Who is your customer? The everyday learner

What do you deliver? A new system to improve business efficiency

What did the customer want? The everyday learner could feel that you have added a bunch of rules and barriers to their ability to learn the way they uniquely need to learn.  They could feel that you have eliminated their connection to others. They might want to eliminate you back.

Prioritize Your Customer's Needs

Information Technology

The scenario:

You are the IT manager who has successfully transitioned your organization to the Cloud. You now need to present the use case to your sales managers. You plan to highlight access to any data on any customer anywhere with an internet connection.

Who is your customer? The sales team

What do you deliver? New customer management capabilities

What did the customer want? The sales team cares about the number and quality of leads, plus the ease of using any new software. They might be asking: is the cloud reliable enough and easy to use to make an impact on their sales commission? Has the added number of leads degraded their ability to deal with each customer uniquely? Has the connection to people been replaced by an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) package?

These two examples illustrate some of the miscommunications that can result from confusing the product or service with the need.  We are hammers looking for a nail, so all we see are nails.  

I first recognized that I was approaching projects from the wrong perspective when studying Richard Sites, co-author of Leaving Addie for SAM. Join me for a webinar exploring more techniques for making sure you are putting your customer’s wants and needs first with “How to Deliver Valuable E-Content and Avoid Shiny New Toy Syndrome” on April 21st at 3 pm EDT.

And don’t forget to do your exercise: Define who your customer is and what they care about.

Lou Russell is the CEO/Queen of Russell Martin & Associates, an executive consultant, speaker and author whose passion is to grow companies by growing their people. She is the author of The Accelerated Learning Fieldbook , Project Management for Trainers, Training Triage, IT Leadership Alchemy, Leadership Training, 10 Steps to Successful Project Management and Managing Projects.  Through speaking, training and writing, Lou draws on 30 years of helping organizations achieve their full potential. She inspires improvement in leadership, project management and individual growth. Lou’s upbeat style, and humorous stories about on-the ground experiences will give you the passion and tools to improve the bottom line. You will be moved,  laughing, participating,  inspired and challenged. Most importantly to Lou, you will learn.

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