Get to Know Your Customers

Nov 08, 2011 News item image

Getting to know your customers will not only help avoid obvious mistakes, like when a direct mail item is targeted for women but sent out to a man, but will provide important insights into your customer base. This insight can then be translated into a valuable, helpful and compelling offering for your customers, such as a discount, a continuity offer, or even a social media page that will help you connect with customers through an online channel.

To begin understanding your customers, start asking these basic questions about your organisation:

Who Are Your Current Customers?

Look at your current customer base. Who uses your products and services? Who do you want to use your products and services? Create profiles of these potential and current customers to help wrap your head around the various perspectives of your customer segments and to build your marketing activities around the customer's point of view rather than only what your organisation hopes to achieve. These profiles should include information like age, gender, location, lifestyle and job position. And for current customers, it is essential to maintain a database with up to date information, including:

-purchase history

-preferred method of purchase

-preferred method of communication

-complaints (or compliments)

-product/service preferences

What Do Your Customers Need?

When getting to know your customers, think about what they need. When you can figure out what your customers are lacking, you can provide a solution and improve the way you serve customers. Don't be afraid to dig deeper into the customer's mindset:

-What problems does this person face?

-What are the obstacles preventing him or her from solving these problems?

-What is he or she afraid of or stressed out about?

-What is preventing him or her from purchasing from you or taking the next step in interacting with your business?

Where Can I Get Information on My Customers?

To get information about your customers, consider going straight to the source with customer feedback tools, like surveys and polls.

Another source of information is the web. Depending on your target customer segments, online networks can provide an excellent source of data on customer behaviour, target demographics and customer needs. For example, what are customers saying on Twitter about your organisation or your industry? Are there any online forums where your customers discuss (or vent about) certain topics? Monitoring these channels can help you identify consumer needs and trends and get to know a target audience. Some organisations may even want to consider establishing an online community where customers can interact with one another and with the business on the web.

It is also helpful to look at your competitors for insight into a potential target audience. Can you target a different audience than the competition? Or can you provide a better or more effective offering than your competitor is offering to the same target market?

How Can I Use Customer Information?

Getting to know your customers can benefit any organisation by producing more cost-effective and successful marketing and customer communications, such as a personalised direct mail campaign, cross-selling or up-selling opportunities for current customers, or transpromo messages on transactional documents. Going beyond a "one size fits all" approach towards customers differentiates your business, boosts customer loyalty, and provides an edge over your competitors.

On the other hand, a lack of knowledge about your customers will limit your marketing message by removing personalised communications as an option and leaving your customer relationships stagnant.

To learn how to best use customer data, target your audience and improve your communications, contact Luke Child by calling 1800 eLetter today or email

Luke Child - National Marketing Manager - eLetter

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