Why Your Perfect Customer is Hiding From You

I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Jon Skelly. Funny enough, Jon and I worked together in the corporate world (who says you can’t be good friend’s with your boss?) for a little over three years and have continued to work together on projects even after we both ended our work at the company and went our separate ways.

I was always fascinated with the way that Jon thought about concepts and looked at problems when we worked together in the marketing department. He always has a fresh take and looks at every problem from a unique angle. It’s something that I envy and admire about him. Jon is the founder of Journey Media, a consulting firm that helps individuals and organizations with the skill of story telling, which is perfect, because Jon can also tell a mean story and crack you up with a joke that you didn’t expect. I learned so much from him while we worked together and continue to learn from him and his content. He has a fantastic blog, where he explores thought provoking topics about storytelling, branding and marketing.

I’m excited to share his guest post today about Why your perfect customer is hiding from you. It’s such a great read and will definitely have you thinking about your marketing! Enjoy!

Imagine this scenario - you’ve just finished a full day of yard work in the hot summer sun. You come inside and collapse onto the sofa, prepared to pledge your undying affection to any person willing to stand over with one of those battery-powered fan/spray bottle combinations.

And then an ice cream truck pulls into your driveway.

You didn’t ask for it or call for it. You don’t who’s driving it or how it got there.


But there it sits.


The thing you need (yes, I’m willing to use the word “need” when it comes to ice cream) at exactly the time and place that you need it.


You are delighted.


You move to your front porch, waiting for the driver to appear or the door to open. You can almost feel the cool breeze wafting over the hot fudge.


And then the truck turns its music on.




So the magical truck didn’t show up on your driveway because you needed ice cream at that moment. It just happened to park on your driveway while hocking ice cream to anybody within ear shot.


The magical feeling of “your ice cream truck” slowly melts into the reality of “an ice cream truck” parked on your driveway.


You are (a little) disappointed.


If we’re being honest, disappointing ice cream still sparks some serious joy. But it’s a far cry from the feeling that this ice cream was made for you and a need to treat yo’ self.


You snap back to reality as you realize that the person in truck is now talking to you. Well, technically they are talking at you through a loudspeaker.


They are telling you about how awesome their ice cream is. About the unique flavors they sourced while filming IG stories in the rain forest. About how they only use cows that are types 4 or 7 on the Enneagram. About the awards they have won and what people are saying about them on social media and how they get starting in dairy-based treats and what selling ice cream means to them.


You are distracted.


It’s not that anything they’re saying is wrong or bad. The problem is what they aren’t saying.


They aren’t asking you what flavor you want. Or how your day is going. Or even how you feel about them being your driveway.

This isn’t about you. This is about them.


And as you’re standing there, considering other solutions to finding something cold and refreshing, they turn the volume up on the loudspeaker.


Now they are just shouting random information about the ice cream, desperate to convince anyone that it is awesome. And worth buying. And please believe us.


You are now feeling defensive.


You go back into your house and go into full “our family doesn’t do Halloween” mode - door locked, shades drawn, blinds closed, and all the lights turned off. You start googling things like “unwanted ice cream truck” and “can I call a tow truck to my house?”


Eventually, you ignore them long enough that they pack up and drive away.


This example is a little ridiculous, but I think it can happen to each on of us.


Our perfect customer is out there with a problem that we can solve right now. And they are delighted when we appear in front of them with that solution.


But that delight begins to wane when they realize that we aren’t here for them, we’re here for anybody that will listen. And if we’re worried that not enough people are listening, we just get louder and bigger and broader.


And what are they listening to? Our natural instinct is to try and convince them how special and unique and clever and fabulous our solution is.


They are looking for a conversation, but we are looking for a conversion.


And if that happens long enough and loud enough, they will start locking the door and turning out the porch light. Unsubscribing from emails. Unfollowing on social media. Dropping off the repeat customers list.


Remember that every single one of us is in the business of problem solving. Find those problems - and the people attached to them - and ask them what flavor they would like.


Because they want to be delighted.

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Jon Skelly is the founder and chief storyteller at Journey Media, a consulting firm specializing in helping individuals and organizations become masters of the story skill. As a former Fortune 500 Chief Marketing Officer and current head of digital experience, Jon has helped executives, business owners, sales professionals, recruiters, and other leaders harness the power of storytelling as they build customer experiences, new products/programs, and their overall brands. He has spoken at events across North America, helping people understand the simple, centuries-old principles of a good story – and why that matters to their career and to their company.


Follow Jon on instagram.

Or check out more of his storytelling and learn how to hire him on his website.

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