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Adapting to the Changing Needs of Your Audience

Everyone knows Fender.

Fender makes amazing guitars, amplifiers, and more. They also have a popular digital learning program called Fender Play. In March of 2020, Fender started giving away free 3-month subscriptions to this tutorial service.

The response was overwhelming.

Statistics show that most new learners quit playing guitar after six months. Fender realized if it could reduce that abandonment rate by 10%, it could double its market. As people began to watch videos and play along, they grew in confidence and in the joy of playing. By May of 2020, one MILLION people were strumming along with Fender from home.

How did Fender decide to release a 3-month tutorial? Here’s what general manager Ethan Kaplan said:

“Right after folks went into lockdown, we started talking about how we could help people get through . . . it was clear [part of the answer was] the power of music. A free three-month offer felt like a good idea. So, we started by offering it to 100,000 people. And we blew through that number in around 36 hours. Then we opened it up to 500,000, and we closed it at a million.

In addition to making elite equipment, Fender became a streaming tutorial service overnight. Kaplan says Fender Play shoots for an engaging and rewarding user experience:

“. . . we’re kind of like a streaming video service with a lot of extra furniture around it. We have 3,000 pieces of video content, but those lessons also include scrolling tabs, chord settings, backing tracks. So we’re a video platform with all these extra dimensions.

Tools to Keep You on Track

Whether your customers are experiencing a pandemic or a culture shift, keeping in touch with their needs is vital. By understanding key clients, you can tailor content to their needs, provide tailor-made services, and ensure your business addresses their current challenges.

There are several ways to take the pulse of your target customers. Here are just a few:

Review current data and analytics

When studying key clients, begin by reviewing data you’ve recently collected. This includes relevant purchaser info, website or focus group feedback, or stats on the latest industry trends.

Connect with your rock star customers

If you have clients who keep coming back, you must be doing something right! Find out what’s working for your VIPs in terms of products, services, customer support, or marketing.

Eyeball competitors

Want to save time and keep creativity flowing? Keep a watchful eye on your competitors! Here you’ll gain easy insight into design features, customer personas, pricing strategies, and more.

Conduct surveys or polls

Directly engaging your prospects or customers is a helpful way to get specifics about your product marketing, customer support, and more. Because surveys can be both targeted AND anonymous, they offer a unique way to get raw answers and data that really matters.

Monitoring audience feedback through your blogs, live chats, or community web forums is also an easy way to resolve pain points or identify the features people love.


Don’t be afraid to experiment with content or service packages to understand your audience better. As Fender found, testing new ideas is a great way to determine whether your business is evolving with changing client needs. You can always start small and make course corrections as you go!

Keeping Customer Needs at the Forefront

In terms of inspiration, Kaplan says the pandemic has highlighted the importance of connecting with customers in ways that makes their lives easier:

“I think what we’re all discovering is that the strength of a service or a product is how well it enables people to make their day-to-day lives easier . . . you’ve seen that with Zoom, you’ve seen that with Slack, [and] certainly with Apple, Spotify, Netflix, Disney+, etc. These companies are not being opportunistic because of the circumstance, but being empathetic . . . because of what the circumstances have now afforded.”

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