Commercial Curiosity – Are your customers ‘Problem Aware’?

January 8, 2024
by Charlie Whyman

Have you ever felt like you should be getting more results from your marketing content?

A lot of marketers and marketing courses spend a lot of time telling you to focus your marketing content on solving your customer’s problems….

but what if your customers aren’t even aware they have a problem yet?

What if they have the problem you can solve but are spending a lot of time worrying about the wrong things and the wrong problems ?

What if your customers know they have a problem but aren’t interested in solving it?!

If your target audience falls into one of the above categories, then problem-focussed content is not going to cut the mustard.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news..

Yet, there are opportunities in front of EVERY challenge so I have some good news for you!

All your effort up to now is not wasted, there will come a time when you can re-use the content and marketing tools you’ve invested time and money in.

There’s just a few things to think about and do first…


🦦 So let’s Explore the Challenge

Marketing is all about capturing the attention of your target customers and then making them curious enough to want to find out more.

Our attention is in limited supply. Unless your content is specific to the problems your customers are facing right now. Their conscious minds won’t even register the fact they have seen your content and will scroll on by.

So if you want to capture your customer’s attention then you need to give them content that is relevant and of interest to them at the time they are seeing it.

If you are pushing content at your customers showing them how to solve problems they don’t know they have – you’re going to struggle to get past their brain’s attention filters.

I first became aware of this challenge when I worked for a company that was given an opportunity to present our solutions to the police – a new target audience for us.

The police was given a pot of funding from the government to buy laser scanning technology and training to solve a National Problem of traffic delays due to collisions on the roads.

I know, I know – you’re thinking – what a sexy project to work on right?! 😅

The challenge was, the collision investigators at the police didn’t want the technology. They were happy with what they were currently doing, it worked for them and they knew how to use it. This funding was a distraction they didn’t want.

So we used Commercial Curiosity to figure things out and we went onto win over 90% of the business from this pot of funding 🚀


🧠 A Couple of Questions to help you move forwards

Your customers don’t care about the solutions you have to offer so you need to put some time into finding out what your customers are interested in.

1️⃣ What problems are they experiencing right now?

2️⃣ What do they care about the most?

In the context of the police we discovered from asking them questions, that they were more bothered by all the verbal abuse they got from people on the road experiencing delays. They hated being called out to a collision when it was raining or 10 minutes before their shift ended.

They cared about presenting accurate data in court so that justice was served to the person at fault (crucial in fatal cases)


⚙️ ➡️ Next Steps


If you want to market your solutions effectively, then you need to meet your customers where they are at right now – not where you’d like them to be.

Sometimes this means helping them solve the problems they are experiencing right now to earn their trust and respect. This can be done in a variety of ways including free content, blogs, articles, research, downloadable guides, webinars, events etc…

This work requires time to think so I recommend taking yourself out of your usual working environment and giving it some thought. Avoid making assumptions too and don’t be a afraid to call up your customers and prospects and ask them questions.

I’ve always found events a great playground for research, that and you can’t beat a good phone conversation too. Time spent at this stage will save you loads of time and money long term so it’s worth investing in.


🥷🏻Ninja Tip

Once you have found out what your customers genuinely care about and what they are struggling with – make notes and write down the exact language your customers are using to describe their goals, challenges and frustrations.

Use this language in your marketing materials, sales emails and conversation because it will be way more relevant to your target customers and help you build trust and respect much faster.

I had very little sales and marketing training at the time we had this police opportunity, I also didn’t have access to a big marketing budget either – I was just very good at asking questions and listening to what was being said (and what wasn’t)

If I can do this – you can too!

And if you take ONE thing from this email please let it be this – don’t make assumptions about your target customers. Even one conversation can lead to huge insights. Prioritise time to speak to the people you’re targeting 🎯

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