In our world of increased and fierce competition, constant new entrants, external world tensions, downward pressures on marketing budgets and the ever-shortening attention span of audiences, it’s never been more important to understand your customers.
But where do you start?
Jumping straight in and in no particular order:
- Start tracking your online performance metrics. Record aspects like email open rates, website views, social media engagement such as followers, likes, reshares. In fact, any objective measures you can get your hands on to start looking at what works in terms of engaging more with your customers. And make sure to measure at least monthly.
- Assess who your top competitors are and keep an eye on their activities. Set up google alerts to notify you of any news articles or media releases about core competitors. Look at their websites, their marketing or any other places they communicate or interact with their customers.
- Work up profiles or personas of who your primary customer target is, along with secondary targets. Consider elements like demographics, mindsets, needs, concerns, what challenges or desires you are helping those customers meet. There will be assumptions here and not all of them will be correct but it’s important to record these ideas, not so they remain unchanged but so that you can be conscious of these hypotheses. These profiles should evolve over time as new information becomes available. If you need a Persona template contact me here firstname.lastname@example.org
- Consider purpose-built, objective research. Many business decisions are made without a deep understanding of customers and to say that this is risky is an understatement. It’s like taking a test you’ve never studied for. Getting information about customers can involve a range of approaches from focus groups to one-on-one interviews to online surveys. You want to consider what’s most effective to reach your customers and gain the insights you need. After all, data is king, but its real insights that win the war…
But hang on you say, we have NPS!
Sure! And many of our clients have held to NPS as a marker over many years.
But our view differs: we consider NPS to be a blunt tool that tells you what a customer feels towards you, but not if they are going to choose you and why.
NPS makes the assumption that if a customer likes your brand then that’s the brand they’ll choose. It’s dangerous to interpret a feelpinion as singular consideration to (re)purchase.
Why NPS is too blunt to understand customer:
- Singularity of focus, identifying those who recommend, but not those who are dissatisfied, and why.
- High-level scope in measuring likelihood to recommend a company but no feedback on specific products or services where opinions may vary.
- Limited actionability, as NPS does not provide the necessary customer insights to adjust the product/service provision to meet the changing needs of customers.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have NPS – I’m just indicating more is needed.
Arm yourself with data
It’s more complete to research your customers in all their forms (current, lapsed, considerers and the unaware). You need to scoreboard your brand against their changing needs. Track how you’re going. Be open to making adjustments in your marketing approach. If you don’t, your competitors will.
If you know your customer, you can:
- Benchmark your brand awareness – don’t assume your ‘customer’ actually knows about you.
- Understand their drivers and motivations – so you can align to those!
- Predict shifts in their behaviour so you can stay ahead of competitors.
- Quantify considerers and preferers, sizing the task of moving the former into the latter.
- Hone your marketing messages so these resonate with their needs and wants.
- Demonstrate ROI on media spend with more targeted channel use.
- Drive product/service evolution and new product development where gaps in the market are identified.
Hopefully this all assists. And naturally we would love to help further, so feel free to reach out to me directly here email@example.com Even if it’s to act as a sounding board, or provide some initial guidance, feel free.