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Ideas Amplified™ | The Flink Blog

5 Ways To Better Understand Your Customers.

Your customers may be very different than either you or your designer. Learn who they are and how they think before you spend money trying to reach them.

How well do you know the people your marketing is trying to reach?

When you engage the services of a designer or marketing firm it’s important to remember who you’re supposed to be talking to. Your customer. The designer may like this or that solution but if it’s not relevant to the audience it’s the wrong solution. Likewise, you may not like a particular phrase or colour of type choice but again, you are seldom the same as the person you’re trying to sell to. It doesn’t matter what we think or prefer if it’s the right solution. Because we aren’t the target market. They are. And what matters is that it works.

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve made a few sales (otherwise you have a very time-consuming hobby). It may have been through a trade show, your website, sales to a few friends or maybe a farmer’s market. But you’ve had interactions with the folks who buy.

What have you noticed? Or have you taken the time to really look for similarities?

Here are 5 key areas to investigate when it comes to knowing your customers better — Demographics, Psychographics, Motivations, Buying Habits and Influences.

1. Demographics:

This is the way your customers are and would be described as a set of their physical properties. It would include the things they might say to describe themselves to strangers. 

Your customers may all fall in a certain age range, their gender may skew male or female, or maybe they are mostly Moms, or mostly young single men, teen-aged boys? Have you seen any other trends?

They could be mostly blue collar workers or mostly executives. Perhaps they are primarily of one ethnic group or another? Try to gather as much information as you can in each of the following areas; gender, age, ethnicity, religion, language, employment status, household income, home ownership, and location.

2. Psychographics:

Psychographics is a more internal view of your customer and can provide clear insights that complement your demographic understandings. They are more individualized views of customers than demographics and would include things like their beliefs, attitudes, behaviours, habits, hobbies, spending habits and values.

Would you describe them as conservative or liberal? Would they be religious, spiritual, agnostic or atheistic? Would they be into quiet evenings at home? Or prefer a more exciting nightlife? Are they traditional or experimental? Do they trust their kids to make important decisions or are they very protective and attempt to shelter them at every turn?

Psychographic data can be gathered through loyalty programs, product surveys, focus groups and interviews, blog comments, email responses to offers, and social media interactions. It’s more difficult data to gather but the time spent learning about how they think can be invaluable. 

3. Motivations:

What factors are motivating them to buy your product? Is it something you have that others don’t? Or something you don’t do that others do? Are they frustrated with a bad experience and trying you as an alternative? Are they seeking something newer? Or something more “old fashioned”? Do they chase after trends and want the latest innovations? Or are they looking for things made the way they used to be?

4. Buying Habits:

Do your customers buy on a whim? Or do they do extensive comparison shopping? Do they purchase in bulk or just enough for this week? How price conscious are they about your category? Do they shop one particular store? Or look for the lowest price online? How far do they drive to buy your product or service? Do they switch brands intermittently or find one they like and stick with it?

5. Influences:

Or are they intensely curious and look for information online? Are they finding you through a friend’s referral? Another company? A web search? Who do they turn to for information and reviews of products? How do they establish trust?

Obviously, there’s a lot to know. Larger companies can have entire teams devoted to this research or hire market research firms to gather this information for them, but whether you have those resources or not, the important thing is that you make it part of your sales process to begin to gather what information you can and formulate a plan to get better at it.

You can start by asking questions and engaging them online or in person. Work on building your online presence through blogging, tweeting and engaging them on social media. Have something to say. Ask questions and take note of their responses. It won’t happen overnight but in time you can develop a clearer understanding of who they are, how they think and what makes them take action. And those are the insights that marketing work for companies of any size.

If you’d like help with this, we’re available. Just get in touch and let’s chat.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR / / / Brent Flink is an award-winning graphic designer, marketer and the founder and Creative Director of Flink Branding, a Vancouver-based food & beverage brand design firm. He specializes in helping food and beverage brands find their authentic voice and build brands that build companies. brent@flink.ca

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