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How Well Do You Really Know Your Customers?

What is the one secret that pays dividends for any entrepreneur, no matter what sector they operate in? It's understanding your customer, knowing what their needs are and how to meet them and anticipating what they want – almost before they know it themselves. Behavioural analytics is a huge growth area, due to the fact that everything is measurable online. There's almost no aspect of customer behaviour that we can’t quantify these days, but all the analytics in the work are useless without insight and interpretation. It's a moveable feast, and keeping up with it can be a challenge, but it should be the primary task of any business owner who wants to succeed.

So, how can you get to the bottom of it all? Can you categorise your customer groups by persona? Could you predict what a customer is likely to buy next based on their last three transactions? Do you know exactly what marketing tactics will increase the average basket value for each of your customer groups? If the answer is no, it could be time to go back to basics and find out how your customers really are – and how to translate that knowledge into sales.

Find Your Tribe

Creating a connection with your customers is all about having the same vision and values as them. In these days of globally connected trade and almost unending customer choice, the general public are less loyal and a lot less innately trusting – you're going to need to convince them, especially if your business is just starting out. Social media has given customers much more of a voice and the power to seek out new experiences and question a purchasing decision, as well as instantly connect to peer opinion. That means that our businesses are necessarily becoming more niche as a response to how easy it is to connect with a particular subset of customers. Any successful marketing plan must include a detailed demographic and psychographic analysis of the proposed customer base. Define who you're appealing to in as much detail as possible.

Make Them Care

You're searching for customers that you can turn into loyal advocates for your brand – that means that they're less sensitive to price and other variables, as they are fully bought into what you do and what you're about. Few smaller businesses can succeed as generalists these days. You need to define a niche for yourself. You can't just be a clothing retailer. You need to be a plus size fashion specialist. You can't just deal in second hand computer sales. You need to be an Apple reselling specialist. You can't just be in the automotive trade. You need to be a Vauxhall Motability specialist. Carving out a space for yourself means having the opportunity to deep dive into what your customers really want – and becoming that service.

Show You’re Listening

Any successful business is a direct response to customer demand, so make sure you have a feedback loop in place to keep in touch with their needs and wants as they evolve over time. You can use tools such as Survey Monkey to request post sales feedback, or use social listening to gauge the mood about what you're offering. With your marketing activity, it's a good idea to run regular focus groups prior to launch and sentiment measurement during a campaign to make sure you’re on track. Responsiveness and agility are the key traits in a competitive marketplace – use them to your advantage.


About the author, Mark

Mark Asquith is a serial entrepreneur who has built globally successful design, marketing, software and digital businesses since he quit his real job in 2005.

A passionate podcaster, global keynote speaker and helpful bloke, Mark is the co-founder of Podcast Websites and the creator of Excellence Expected. He has a terribly embarrassing beard.

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