21 Nov 2011
Posted By: Vicky Boulton

The success of your marketing activities, regardless of whether they are online or offline, essentially depends on one thing – customer knowledge and whether you have it or not.

Let’s face it we all buy products and services from people and businesses where we have a connection. With recession-challenged customers buying less, looking for deals, or switching to different suppliers and products, it is increasingly important to connect effectively with both customers and prospects. Connecting effectively with your customers is crucial, yet it can only really be achieved by developing a deep understanding of who they are, what motivates them to buy from you, to stay with you and of course to recommend you to others.

Carefully thought out research projects can make you smarter about where and how to invest your marketing budget.  In addition they allow you to gain invaluable insight into your target audience’s standpoint, enabling you to tailor your communications accordingly.

So to stand out from the crowd, you need to be smart and set aside sufficient budget for research knowing that the investment is the key to successful marketing strategies and campaigns.

Here are my tips for increasing your customer knowledge, together with the far-reaching benefits of good research:

  • Survey your current customers – this will enable you to understand why they buy from you, what you do well and perhaps most importantly what you do less well. By making improvements based on the results, you will be able to fine tune your offering, build customer loyalty and hopefully sell more to existing clients.

  • Profile and categorise your customer base – this will enable you to divide the market into segments so that you can find the most profitable areas, the fastest growing, the least rewarding, etc. This means you will be able to begin to focus your resources on the segments that will yield the greatest opportunities.

  • Optimise your value propositions – this will enable you to target your communications effectively utilising different messages for different market segments. This means that you will be able to correctly define your benefits in order to provide a tailored solution that will maximise your sales.

  • Develop and innovate – research enables you to be enable you to identify and develop new channels to market, processes and systems, new markets and or additional innovative products or services which can support or compliment current activities. This means that you will be able to stay ahead of the competition by focusing on openings in the market to increase your profitability.

  • Lower risk – research allows you the ability to plan and prepare for changes in the market place or in your customer’s expectations. This means that you will be able to increase your business’ chances of survival by lowering the risk.

Customer research is essential for you to develop a deep understanding and knowledge of potential and existing customers and the marketplace they work in. This understanding will allow you to target customers, sell effectively, compete with other suppliers and identify new opportunities.

 

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