Understand Customers Public Face To Convince Them Effectively!

big data
“Why and how would; an understanding of customers public face help in convincing them effectively?” Good question!

Well actually understanding customers’ public face helps in understanding the real motives of a purchase.

Basically People buy things for two reasons.

1.      Mianzi: A buying motive that involves "mianzi" which means “Public self image (Public face) that one wants to claim for his/her self” (1).
2.      Need: A purchase that is motivated by a real need, a problem, a situation that a customer is facing and where a consumption/utilization of a particular product/service would help in satisfying, helping/solving that need or situation.

Any purchase decision may involve either of these motives or both of these motives (where one motive would have dominant role while other would have minor one), now once you identify the underlying motives.

No wonder  you would then be in better position to convince your customers, there will be no reason for your customers to reject your offer though remember that in case of need motive, customer won’t accept your offer immediately even after being convinced, rather would consider your offer only after a particular situation, need arises.

Now the question is “how you are going to understand what exactly motivates your customer to buy your product/service ?”.

The simple answer is, you have to do a little research on your own, though the more comprehensive the research the more beneficial it would be for your business.

Now as we are not going to do the big, “comprehensive research” therefore I am going to provide a simple but yet effective research framework that would still help your business to good extent in understanding your target market.

And in future you can use this framework for more comprehensive research by adding other different target market analysis factors to understand your target market in terms of the above mentioned purchase motivators (Mianzi, Need).


In this research we are going to focus on three key areas to understand our customer

1.      Competitors
2.      Social Economic Class
3.      Buying Behavior


Start with research of competitor’s products/services, what are the motivating factors or what motivates your customers (Mianzi or Need) to buy your competitors products/services.

You can conduct research by using qualitative and quantitative research techniques for competitors research, as these research methods are proven to provide essential data on market, its structure, competitors, customers, their behavior, attitude so on and so forth (2), though remember that each and every research technique has some strengths and some limitations therefore utilize them in such a way that the weaknesses of one are covered by strengths of other and vice-versa (3).

And once you identify what is motivating (Manzi, Need) your customers to buy or utilize your competitors product/service,  this will put you in a better position to offer your product/service in similar terms (Manzi, Need) by using unique selling proposition (USP) approach (4,5)


Unique selling proposition, in simple words

1.      Giving better than others (competitors)
2.      Giving what (customers) they want


Step 1
Research your target market in terms of what they want, prefer, like, buy when it comes to your product/service or to similar product/service. Likewise assess your competitors (SWOT) like for instance what makes your competitors offer (Product/Service) better than yours.
Step 2
Associate/alter your product/service according to those preferences/likes of your target market. Likewise alter, improve, redesign your product/service in terms of its features, attributes etc to overcome your competitors.
Step 3
Then promote your product/service through all available/feasible touch points (online, social media, mass media, outlets, PR etc) with focus on customers preferences, likes etc and competitors, that’s it, if carried out effectively you will soon be on top in terms of quality, customer preference in your niche.

Why USP ?, well because you not only need to differentiate your product/service from your competitors but also required to provide a product/service that they (customers) desire, want, need to survive as business, to thrive. And USP is all about that, providing exactly what customer needs and differentiating it from your competitors.

Social Economic Class

Social economic class or social status, the more comprehensively you know about your target market in terms of social economic class, the better you will be able to understand your customers purchasing motives (Mianzi, Need).

For instance if you clearly classify that your customers between age 20-30 belong to middle upper class (20% of target market), customers between age 30 to 50 upper class (50% of target market), customer above 50 to society elite (20% of target market).

Since majority of your customers are comprised of people with more wealth, money (70%) therefore they are more motivated to purchase your product/service based on Mianzi factor (6) and as Veblen said in his famous article The Theory of the Leisure Class In order to gain and to hold the esteem of men (Mianzi) it is not sufficient merely to possess wealth or power (a reference to wealthy people). The wealth or power must be put in evidence (buying stuff that enhances Mianzi), for esteem is awarded only on evidence.” And that’s why most wealthy society spend, for mianzi, though buying a BMW fulfills a need (transportation) but it also helps the wealthy in achieving the mianzi.

Buying Behavior

Buying behavior like buying more than needed (Mianzi) or buying only what is needed (Need), buying expensive (Mianzi) or buying reasonable, economical (Need), buying scare, rare stuff (Mianzi) or buying amply available (Need), buying goods that are consumed in private (Need) or buying socially visible (Mianzi) stuff so on and so forth.

Now some of your customers will buy your product/service for one reason “need” while others would buy it for other reason “mianzi”.

Identify these customers, categorize them (for instance like on the basis of spending, frequency of visit, age etc) so that you know how to deal with them, how to adjust your marketing strategy for each category.


This whole research will help you in developing an understanding of your target market in terms of what motives (mianzi, need) motivates them to purchase your product/service.

And once you understand your target market motives, present your product/service accordingly across all customer touch points (outlets, mass media, website, social media, public relation, customer service etc).

Devise, readjust your marketing strategy, your branding strategy accordingly and with that keep on assessing your whole approach, if results aren’t satisfactory, tweak, change the approach accordingly.

Over to you guys!

You may also like to read How to build an Effective Relationship Management Framework
One more thing!, don't forget to subscribe!



1.      Brown, P. & Levinson, S. (1978) Universals in language use: politeness phenomena. In Questions and Politeness: Strategies in Social Interaction (ed. by E.N. Goody), pp. 56–289. Cambridge University Press, New York.

2.      Proctor, T. (2000), Essentials of Marketing Research, Pearson Education Limited, Essex.

3.      Deshpande, R. (1983) ‘Paradigms lost’: on theory and method in research in marketing. Journal of Marketing, 47, 101–110.

4.      Reeves, Rosser (1961). Reality in Advertising. Macgibbon and Kee. pp. 46–48.

5.      Frazer, C.F. (1983), “Creative strategy: a management perspective”, Journal of Advertising, Vol. 12 No. 4, pp. 36-42.

6.      Veblen, T. (1994) The Theory of the Leisure Class. Dover Publications, Inc., New York. (Reprint of 1899 edition).

About Publisher Arshad Amin

Certified SEO Professional, Small Business, Start-up, Marketing Expert with ton's of practical, actionable ideas, insights to share, Proud Founder and Owner of www.easymarketinga2z.com and www.topexpertsa2z.com

No comments:

Post a comment

Start typing and press Enter to search