When you’re running a business, understanding your target market is critical to success. By identifying your customer’s beliefs, opinions, and priorities, you can cater to them more effectively via your products, services, and marketing. Similarly, knowing your customer’s pain points allows you to offer meaningful solutions and outperform your competitors.
Despite the benefits of customer research, many firms overlook the importance of collecting customer data. By collating and analyzing this information, you can use it to develop your business and enhance your commercial performance.
However, it’s important to choose the right methods of data collection and analysis if you want to get to know your customers better. To learn more, take a look at these top tips to help you understand your target market and your existing customer base:
Listen to Your Staff
It’s typically staff on the ‘shop floor’ that will be exposed to the majority of customer feedback. What’s more – the information they’re able to gather is often unprompted, which increases its authenticity. Asking sales staff and customer service personnel to monitor these interactions and forward customer feedback can help you to gain an insight into how your existing customers perceive your brand, services, and products.
It’s usually business owners, directors, and heads of departments who are in the room when critical decisions are made. However, involving your entire staff in the process will allow you to access data that would otherwise remain unused. By tapping into all of your resources, you can ensure that you get a wide range of data on which to base your decisions.
Use Conjoint Analysis
Now you know how important it is to incorporate customer insights into your decision-making processes, you simply need to decide what data to gather and what methods to use. For many businesses, conjoint analysis is the preferred option. This method of data processing allows you to gain in-depth insights into customer opinions without requiring major budgets or resources.
Conjoint analysis can be used in various ways, but it’s most commonly used to understand customer values in relation to products. For example, conjoint analysis may incorporate surveys to determine which product features a customer places the most value on. Using ranking-based, ratings-based, and/or choice-based conjoint analysis, you can gather detailed information from both existing customers and your target audience.
While this type of analysis can be extremely valuable in the product design and development phase, it’s also critical to your marketing success. When you know which features are most important to your target market, for example, you have an insight into which areas your next marketing campaign should focus on.
Monitor Social Media
Social media is a fantastic way to connect with customers and promote your business, but it’s also an excellent tool for data collection. The wide array of social media tools available means you can monitor activity and track ‘mentions’ of your company name. This allows you to see what people are saying about your brand. As these ‘mentions’ aren’t directed towards you, it’s data that would otherwise go unused or unseen.
Furthermore, these social media ‘mentions’ are unprompted, so you’re likely to get an insight into what your target audience really thinks about you. Whether it’s good or bad, this information should be used to enhance your products, services, and marketing so that you can improve your performance.
Although you can choose to monitor social media in-house, you’ll need to ensure you have the appropriate expertise and resources. If not, it’s easy to outsource your needs to a dedicated market research firm that can access and analyze the data on your behalf.
Use Customer Profiles
Customer profiles are an important way to ensure your target market remains at the forefront of your mind at all times. When you’re developing a new product or crafting a new service, for example, you’ll want to establish how your customer profiles will respond. However, it’s important to create customer profiles or personas based on evidence, rather than who you want your customers to be or who you assume them to be.
As well as mining your customer base to create profiles, carry out detailed research into your target audience. This will help you to get a greater understanding of the market you’re trying to engage with. By doing so, you can tailor your products, services, and marketing materials to these personas in order to improve your sales and profitability.
Data is so valuable to businesses that it can be cost-effective to offer your customers incentives in order to take part in customer research activities. A 5% discount off their next purchase or an entry into a giveaway can encourage people to take part in surveys, for example.
As well as enabling you to gather the data you need, you can also use this as a stepping-stone to increase your marketing reach. When people submit their information for market research purposes, why not ask them to opt-in to marketing emails too?
For the vast majority of companies, retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. By gathering data from people who have already chosen to engage with your brand, you can find out exactly how to retain these customers in the future and increase their lifetime value.
Building Customer Relationships
Getting to know your customers is the very first step in building long-term relationships with them. As you do this, you can gain their trust and loyalty, which will, almost certainly, help you to secure a bigger share of your market. Furthermore, responding to customer feedback and acting upon it can help you to become recognized as a company that genuinely cares about its customers.
When you’re analyzing metrics, it’s easy to focus on statistics, such as sales figures or bounce rates. However, taking things a step further and uncovering the motivations behind these consumer behaviors will reveal the critical information you really need. When you use this data to inform your business decisions, you can ensure that you’re truly catering to your market.