John Stuart Mill
From the Desk of Aaron Heffron, President, Market Connections, Inc.
In a recent The Curious Task podcast, Dr. Sandra Peart, Dean and E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Professor at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) discussed the life and philosophy of John Stuart Mill. As an economics nerd myself, I found the discussion fascinating as she and host, Alex Aragona, detailed the key principles on which Mill wrote. A review of issues around liberty and utilitarian decision-making abounded. But what I was particularly taken with was Mill’s concept of how you can determine whether one choice is better than another. Enter the “competent judges.”
As marketers, our job is to help make the decision easier for our customers. We spend countless hours and dollars making the case as to why our company’s products or services are a better choice. When faced with two options, we want them to choose us every time.
Market Connections partners with our clients to help identify those in their target market who are more likely to lean one way or another, understand the elements of the product or service that are important to them, and the perceptions and experience they have with various companies. We conduct surveys, run focus groups, and conduct in-depth interviews all in an attempt to mine those hidden diamonds of the decision-making process that will make their product or service more appealing.
While hearing from just your customers or prospects is great, the opinions we value most are what Mill termed the “competent judges,” those who have direct experience with both options available to them. By bringing together those individuals with direct experience, you as a marketer can hear straight from the horse’s mouth as to what worked and what didn’t. You are not relying on perceptions, assumptions, or hearsay; but rather, you are measuring the room, so to speak, and getting a clear view of where your brand stands.
While not always easy to find, these judges are a key gateway to a path forward for you and your sales team. To support these efforts, Market Connections has spent the last decade building a panel of thousands of public sector influencers and decision-makers that we reach out to on a regular basis. Working across civilian and defense agencies, these individuals have had exposure to scores of contractors, vendors, and products. We have been leveraging these “competent judges” for insights for years, creating studies and reports that support your efforts and strategies.
Contact me if you want to discuss leveraging our “competent judges” for your specific market needs.