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BBC, “Bakeoff” And Mary Berry – Why It Pays To Know What Your Customer Thinks.

Seb Greenwood List Building

There was some big news yesterday.

No, I’m not talking about David Cameron standing down as an MP.

I’m talking about the HUGE news that The Great British Bake Off is moving from BBC and going to Channel 4, with the BBC refusing (or unable) to match the £25 million that the commercial channel offered for the show.

If you’re not a “Bake Off” fan, this’ll probably leave you cold, but if you tune into the Wednesday night baking extravaganza every week, then you’ll understand that it’s a pretty big deal.

Presenters Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc have already announced that they won’t be continuing on Channel 4, whilst reports suggest that Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are also weighing up their options.

The judges’ representatives are currently locked in negotiations with the production company Love Productions regarding whether they’ll continue, with many thinking it unlikely that they’ll make the transition.

When the news broke and Giedroyc and Perkins confirmed their departures, fans all over the country were quick to lament the fact that the quirky duo will no longer be presenting the show, with many suggesting that their interest in the show will diminish.

If Berry and Hollywood were to follow them out of the door, I don’t think it’s dramatic to suggest that it could have a huge effect on ratings.

Maybe I’m missing something, but to me it seems like Love Productions haven’t really thought this through.

They’ve taken the money – which is fine, they’re a commercial operation after all – but it seems to me like they’ve underestimated the pull of their presenters and judges – why else would they not have secured their services prior to their transition to Channel 4?

It might seem like a bit of a basic point, but I think there’s something we can all take and learn for our businesses – do we know what our customers actually like about what we do?

We might assume that they appreciate the ‘benefits’ that we’ve previously outlined, but if it turns out that that’s not what keeps them coming back, then we run the risk of failing to provide for whatever it is they actually want and losing them.

This is exactly what Love Productions appear to be doing. They’ve taken the money, gone to Channel 4 and assumed that the reason they get 15 million viewers tuning in to watch their show is because the British public really, really like baking.

That’s not why people watch “Bake Off”.

It might be part of it, but it’s not the whole enchilada.

They like watching Mel and Sue, their quirky personalities and their appalling jokes.

They love Paul Hollywood’s stern stares and Scouse appraisals of scones.

They adore Mary Berry’s obsession with “layers” and “even bakes”.

Take any element out and it weakens the proposition. And importantly for Love Productions, it makes it less desirable to viewers.

So here’s the question for all of us: do we truly understand what our customers love about us? What keeps them coming back? What they consider to be the most valuable part of our proposition?

If you don’t know, you need to.

Because without that information, any decision you make regarding your proposition is a gamble or a guess.

Plus, if you do have the information, it’ll make your marketing a heck of a lot more powerful, because you’ll be able to include benefits proven to be attractive to your avatar.

If you haven’t asked your customers what they like about what you do recently, then now’s the time to do it. Set up a survey, send an email, pick up the phone – whichever way is best for you – but just get it done, because once you’ve got that information your marketing will be better and your business will be stronger.

If only Love Productions had done just that…

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