Meet Your Customer Where They Are At

Hello Friends, 

Slipping into February, I've perfected my homebody ambiance.

Cozy socks on, a weighted blanket at the ready, and an Opal camera to capture the chaos of my desk in 1080p.

I’ve not left my desk most of the week.

But with (a ton of) travel plans on the horizon, I'm hit by a familiar lesson: the best-laid-out plans often veer off course.

Ready for the segue of a lifetime? 

Most of our customers are on a journey, too, zigzagging through a maze of options, dodging our carefully placed ads, and sometimes, veering off the mapped-out customer journey we've crafted. 

It’s a bit of a fool's errand trying to dictate their path, yet most brands do.

This week, I wanted to tackle the art of meeting customers exactly where they are. 

Not where we hope they'd be or where we've planned for them to go, but in their current, unfiltered reality.

In an unpredictable world of customer preferences, being a guiding light, not a gatekeeper, is the key to increased LTV and customer loyalty.

And maybe, just maybe, we'll learn to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

Pull over a chair. We need to talk. 

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Fluff, Meet Practical: 🤝

“Meeting the customer where they are at” is something I have heard at one too many board meetings. Tbh, it generally means nothing, and most leaders won’t have anything formidable to show for this “core value” plastered on their wall.

But I’ve seen a handful of moments where meeting the customer where they are at is an actual realistic and relevant strategy that can make or break a business or strategy. 

Healthy Soda:

A little-known fact about OLIPOP is that before OLIPOP, the cofounders had another beverage business in the kefir category.

When deciding what to do next, they wanted to create a venture in the better-for-you soda category because it was an excellent way to bring forth a healthier alternative to the market without massively changing customer behavior.

Most Americans love soda. What if instead of creating a whole new healthy drink category, we can just meet the customers where they are with a better-for-them soda?

It started as a “sparkling tonic,” but more recently, all the cans say “a new kind of soda.”

They are meeting the market where it is at. 

Dee To Cee:

The DTC purists will hate me for this, but for 99% of brands, not being available at their nearest retailer or online marketplace encourages a shift in their customer’s behavior. Especially consumables.

If I buy 99% of my personal care items at Walmart, having to buy my deodorant at a separate cadence and wait for it to be delivered separately from everything else I buy, you better damn be sure it’s worth the hassle.

Very few brands have successfully been able to sustain a pure DTC play forever, and even the DTC darlings like Glossier eventually hit the Sephora shelves.

By the time OLIPOP started selling on, we had tens of thousands of monthly searches there. All those searchers had to go elsewhere to purchase (or did not purchase at all.) 

Yes, there are brands that are super strong and can command that behavior, and many are okay leaving money on the table to retain “control” of experience and “retain data,” but most of us should be meeting the customer where they are.  

Customer Behavior:

This rant from Cherene was one of my favorite things I have seen on X (formerly known..)  this year: 

Everyone is doing it wrong.

If you watch one video this week, make sure it is this one.

Meeting the customer where they are at is understanding that you are in control of the awareness phase, have little you can sway on consideration, and even less control over the decision.

Cherene’s rant is more on the growth and ads side of the house, but the point still stands. We have much less control over how customers behave than we think. 

Customer behavior does not fit into a neat and tidy spreadsheet.

Meet customer behavior where it is at. 

That’s it for this week!

Any topics you'd like to see me cover in the future?

Just shoot me a DM or an email!


Eli 💛