How Understanding Your Consumer Influences Your Business Success
Most companies start out with a general idea of their target consumer group in mind. Maybe your product is targeted at middle-aged working professionals, or busy mothers, or young male gym-goers. But how well do you actually know your consumer.
According to GrowBusiness.org., knowing your customer is key for any company endeavor. Successful business owners understand what their customers want and the most efficient way of making their products available, both online and offline. The depth of the knowledge is vital as well – it requires knowing more than just their names, ages and incomes. As a business owner, knowing your customer’s preferences, tastes and interests along with what they watch, listen to and read can be a profitable advantage too.
There isn’t a single “best way” to better understand your customer base. Instead of emphasizing on just one or two methods, find the right tools that provide you with information about your customers and lead to broader conversations about marketing and business choices.
Understanding their buying behavior is also very crucial for developing successful digital marketing plan. As a business owner, you need to comprehend what type of person is most likely to need the product or service you offer. These are a number of questions that successful business owners need to ask themselves on a daily basis:
- What is their reason for purchasing your product or service?
- How often are they going to need to buy that product or utilize the service?
- Who are they buying for?
- Where are they most likely to purchase?
- Do they prefer digital (online e-commerce) purchasing options or traditional ones?
This is an area many businesses overlook, although it can have a huge impact on your business (digital) success, especially in the following areas:
Creating a Brand Identity
Deciding who you are as a brand is greatly influenced by your target consumer group – and not just such Google Adwords demographics options, such as age and gender. You need to identify what your consumers’ lifestyles are like – what their hobbies are, the kind of food they eat, a typical day in their lives. You identify what they care about, the issues they face, and the solutions they seek.
Then, you can use that information to shape your brand into an ideal that appeals to your target consumers, and create an image of a community that they want to be a part of. This brand identity will drive all communications with your consumers, in the ‘voice’ of your copy, or the style of your visuals. This will make your brand relatable to your target consumers in a much deeper way than a generic communication would be to a broad audience.
Developing New Products
Every business needs a reason for their customers to buy from them and not their competitors. This is called a Unique Sales Proposition (USP). Your USP can be identified by completing the phrase “Customers will buy from me because my business is the only one offering… “Your USP can change as your business or your market changes, and you can have different USPs for different types of customer.
Once you have identified the issues your target consumers face and the solutions they seek, you can then put this information into the development of new products, as well as the improvement of current products. By going into detail and understanding what your consumers care about, you can streamline your efforts to make sure that you are putting effort into something that will actually matter.
According to McKinsey.com, what Unilever, Philips, Amazon have in common, though, is that they drive growth by meeting consumer needs better than their competitors do. Core to this consumer focus is a strong belief in customer insights, and in the active use of a diverse mix of insight tools—new and old, qualitative and quantitative, digital and analog—to get better answers.
Unilever, for example, has successfully engaged in consumer cocreation to launch TRESemmé, a fast-growing dry-shampoo brand that is now one of the best-selling mass hair-care products in the US. Philips has achieved major market-share gains in highly contested home-appliance categories through city-level growth analysis. Thanks to its data-driven recommendation engine, Amazon attributes more than one third of its revenue to cross-selling, and Netflix saw its subscribers triple between 2011 and 2015, largely because of its ability to develop hit shows such as House of Cards, based on advanced analysis of subscribers’ past viewing behavior.
Developing a better understanding of customers is increasingly a strategic necessity, because fast-moving markets, new digital technologies, and new business models are changing what customers want and how they shop.
Remember, you can’t be everything to everyone – so aim your resources towards meeting the needs of your target market, and let the other things go. For example, if you own a shoe company and find out that your target market consists of women who are on their feet all day, then it may be more important to prioritize the comfort factor of your shoe line, than to spend resources produce a wide variety of colour options for each design.
Creating the Best Customer Experience
Understanding your target audience and their behaviors also allows you to meet their needs for a good customer and user experience, whether online or offline. If you are catering to an older population who may not be as tech savvy, making sure your website is clean, easy to navigate, and presents key information in an easy-to-understand manner is key. Conversely, a younger target audience may respond better to multimedia elements such as GIFs, videos, or an interactive 360-degree display of your product.
You can also expand this to include perks or services that come with your products. For example, you could offer an extended return period if you’re targeting people who are not used to shopping online to reduce their feeling of risk. Or perhaps, you could include a free demonstration video for a product that is complex to use.
Whatever your business is, there is always a benefit to understanding your consumer and showing that you care for their needs as a brand. At the end of the day, your business can’t lose by having happy, loyal customers!
The better you know your customers, the easier it becomes to predict their behavior, to communicate effectively with them, and to anticipate their needs. Understanding your customers allows you to create accurate customer personas, which helps you target your customers based on specific categories. Know your customers better because only they can help you get more lead and more business. Understanding customers is the key to giving them good service which in turn results into strong customer relationships both online and offline and new sales through positive word-of-mouth recommendation. However, understanding the customers’ psyche is not easy and most often requires a thoughtful analysis to identify their preferences or purchase patterns so that you can anticipate their needs, exceed their expectations and develop a thought-out marketing and digital marketing strategy.
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