Are you seeing a decline on your sales? Are you blaming your marketing strategies on it? Maybe it’s just not working for you anymore. And since it’s Know Your Customers Day, we’ll break down some practices that you might want to do so you’ll know them better.
Some might be the obvious things to do (like doing a survey, for example) but there might be other ways you need to explore.
One thing you should keep in mind in trying to know your customers is that their preferences always change. A marketing strategy might have worked so well for you last year, but it doesn’t mean that they’d love to see that again this years. Or you might be serving them the same thing every year that they start to get tired of it.
So what should you do so as not to burn out your audience? Let’s run down a few suggestions from the traditional and usual, to something new and fresh.
Do a Little Survey
If you want to know your customers better, the most obvious step is to do surveys.
You can go for your usual customer surveys; be it through emails or hand out something in print. You can also use something more interactive or have more reach by using social media. Let them answer it but makes sure it’s something short because they might just see it as a waste of time. Make sure to also ask basic demographical data so you can use them in the future.
If you find forms and surveys to be less enticing, do something more personal and ask them questions on-ground. Have a staff assist your customers and do small-talk questions to somehow collect data.
But if your budget is generous enough and you want something grand, then hold an event. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire event should be about market study or surveying. You can have any event and send out surveys or ask questions. It could be a product launch, a re-branding launch, whatever it is. But while you’re at it, do a little bit of surveying. Events are usually feel-good and positive so your customers might not feel too obligated or stressed out when being surveyed.
Engage with People in the Frontline
As much as you would want to go on-ground and ask your customers for their opinion and feedback, you cannot do so every hour of every single day. The tendency would be that you would only get limited feedback from customers more than you want to. So how do you maximize this technique?
Tap the people in the frontline and delegate this simple task. Train them on what questions to ask, how to ask them and engage the customers, and how to note their responses. Hold weekly meetings so you can gather the information from them and slowly create and build up your data.
This may take a lot of labor and hours from them, but personally reaching out to your customers will mean more to your marketing strategies, making them more personal than it usually seem.
User Demographics to Build Customer Persona
“Who are your customers?” That’s a basic question that most marketing strategies start with.
With the surveys you have done, this is where all the customer data would go. Take note of every demographical data you have gathered. Tally everything. It may be a lot of work to do, but this would help you in the long run.
From the demographics you have gathered, build a customer persona. This is how you can answer the question “who are your customers”. Imagine filling out a user profile using the emerging dominant demographics from the data you collected.
If you can come up with gender, age, average income, mode of transportation, occupation, etc., then you can create an entire person out of it. Maybe it’s a mother in her 30’s who drives a mini van, or a businessman in his late 20’s who like to walk to wherever he goes. It can be anything but one thing’s for sure: a dominant quality or persona would come out of the data.
That’s who your customers are. That’s who you should shape your marketing strategies to.
Look Into Past Purchases
One thing you can do to observe customer behavior is to look into past purchases. If you keep track of your inventory, then you know which among your products and services are mostly availed by your patrons.
And if your records go far beyond just your inventory, then note what each demographical data you collected often spend for your. For example, what do most men in their early 20’s buy in your store? What services do women in their late 30’s often avail? These past purchases can actually tell you a lot not just about your products, but about your target market as well.
You can also observe if there are emerging patterns as to when and where these purchases were made. Maybe there are products and services that people avail more during a certain season or month than any other times of the year. Perhaps, there are other preferred products and services among the locals at a certain branch.
Again, these little details from past purchases can actually help you tailor your future marketing strategies.
This might be an irony of the previous item, but this is important as well.
Once you’ve gathered all consumer and purchase data, there’s a great tendency to just be dependent on it. No matter what your data shows, never assume. Never assume that it’s just it… that that’s the only data you need. But why is this so?
Getting to know your customers doesn’t mean you already know their preference the entire time. These preferences can change as time goes… or maybe, as you add more products and services. Something new might come up in the market – yours or a competitor – that they might prefer more in the next month or year.
Don’t simple settle on these. You challenge these data you gathered. Challenge the strategies that you already have that lured customers to your brand and see if there are more ways to increase the numbers. Because customer preferences change in time – and so should your marketing strategies.
Social Listening Can Do Wonders
We cannot do a survey on everyone. Data on past purchases also doesn’t give us the whole picture. But one thing that’s most accessible to customers and that would also make you more reachable is through social media.
Your social media content may already contain what your customers want from you without you noticing them. Social listening, as they call it. Look into the comments section and ‘listen’ to what they are saying. It might be simple compliments or complaints; they’re feedback nonetheless.
Use all the information that you get from this. Look into the most common suggestion or request from your customers. You can also consider the complaints that they have. All those together will help you know what they want so you can tailor your marketing strategies according to these.
Usually, looking into competitors is a technique done to improve ones products and services and compete with other brands. But do you know you can also know your customers with this technique?
For one, your competitors would probably have the same target market as you do. Sometimes, they have the slice of the market pie that you do not have. Studying your competitors will somehow tell you what other customers like about your competitor that you might not have. Be it another type of service, a variant of a similar product, or even as simple as location, price, and customer service.
Looking into these data from your observation on your competitors will help you create a different marketing strategy that would now address not just the pain points of your loyal customers, but of the competitors’ as well. That way, you can probably lure them into shifting to your brands.
Take Customer Reviews Seriously
Reading customer reviews and taking them seriously is one good way to know your customers even more. Although some customer reviews lack the depth, but you would find that most customers actually take time to leave a review in your website, social media pages, and even on mobile apps where your products and services are probably listed.
A positive customer review will help you know which among your products and services are actually up par with your customers’ needs. This will help you focus on your strengths and continue with it or even turn it up a notch higher just so you wouldn’t seem to be very repetitive.
Negative reviews might be disheartening to read at time (they could be pretty unfair sometimes, too) but this is actually just as important – if not, more important – as positive reviews. These negative reviews reflect the things you need to improve on. Be it your product or service or how your staff handle customers. These reviews help you not only improve on your brand’s marketing, but even create a whole new concept or idea on how to market your products.
Customers didn’t like it? Rebrand your product. Your services are a bit lousy? Launch a package to pair it up with your bestseller. Find something good out of the negative to reinvent your line of services and products and, in a way, reinvent your brand.