Do you know your customer?

Thursday 28th, July 2016

Standing out in a crowd photoMarketing is an essential part of a business if you have a product or a service to offer. You might have the most amazing and most useful product in the world, but how will they know you have it, unless you tell them you do?

Marketing is a mixture of polarities – it isn’t rocket science on the one hand, but it isn’t totally straight-forward either. It is not just about increasing sales. It is about building relationships and loyalty. Regardless of whether you are just a tiny start up or the undisputed king, there are some basic but absolutely important rules that you should remember.

The most important one hits you right between the eyes. You would think that this is the basis on which businesses build, but it is not always so.

And here it is –

Know your customers – it is all about them.

Not just about you.

You can’t stress that enough!

You need to know who your customers are. What they want or need. What they like or don’t. Pretty much everything you can possibly know about them. You need to know what they buy, how they buy and how often. Their names and ages, gender and how much they make. Their home addresses and their digital ones too. You need to know their education level, what they do to make a living, if they are married and how many children they have. What they are interested in and what their hobbies are. What they watch on TV, what they read and listen to.

Only those businesses who have this kind of knowledge about their customers and use it to their advantage, are successful.

Only then can they offer solutions to their customers’ problems. Or give them the right products or send them the right message at the right prices, at the right places and at the right time. Businesses are able to offer their customers a very positive customer experience. And those who don’t have this kind of knowledge about their customers, or those who do not use it to their advantage, end up failing.

One would think that this is one of the first things a marketer or a business does – but it is surprising to see how many people just miss out on so much by just not getting a good understanding about their customers.

The big mistake that many companies make is that they think they are the centers of their own universe. Which is a natural thing – considering that they would be thinking about what they offer all the time. The trouble comes when businesses think that they are as important to their customers as they are to themselves. And when they don’t make any effort to understand and know their customers, they continue on being delusional in this aspect.

When sales start to dip, where should one turn? To one’s customers of course. To find out what they are thinking or feeling – figure out where the gap between what you offer and what they want, lies.

Do you know what kind of media your customers use? What channel they are most comfortable when they want to engage with you? If you have a product that a young demographic would consume, but insist on marketing this through traditional channels, you might miss be missing the mark entirely. This is as important as knowing your customers – know what channels they use. You might think it is the best thing to build a presence on Twitter but your target audience and your customers are all on LinkedIn. So where does that leave you?

So how do you do this? How can you really know your customer?

This is where getting a Single View of your Customer comes in.

And how do you do that?

By getting all the data about a customer from all the various touchpoints that he uses and the channels that you have, consolidating and analyzing it, and deriving meaningful and actionable insights from this.  Don’t only look at what he or she buys – that is just one side of this whole puzzle, if you will. Look beyond that. You could use simple and non-intrusive forms to ask for information about himself which would flesh out what you already know.  Don’t ignore Social Media – it is actually a treasure trove of information about the customer. Use every possible way to find out more and more about each customer who favors, buys and uses your product or your service. Get data from every possible channel or touchpoint and then use a sophisticated tool that can then analyze this data and derive insights for you from it. Ask the right questions – find the right answers and then build your communication, your product offering, your customer experience, your marketing campaigns – your total customer engagement on this.

Then – and only then – can you ensure that you are relevant, attractive and valuable to your customers – one individual at a time!

Image by danorth1 

 

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