This should be the question you ask yourself every day. Your customers are the most important thing your business has. Without them, you have no revenue, no word of mouth, no feedback. So every day you need to be asking: who are my customers? What do they value? What do they want?
Infusing your business with this consumer intelligence means your decisions are geared around your customers: your marketing is tuned to resonate with what they really want, ensuring it draws them to your stores, be they online or bricks and mortar; your storefronts are arranged to reduce friction, help customers find what they came for and discover more while they shop; and you products are attuned to appear as necessities to the customers you’re targeting.
It doesn’t just remove friction from the customer’s journey, it removes it from yours too, after all it’s far easier to convince people your products are right for them if you’ve put in the research to make sure that that is, in fact, the case.
So where do you find the answers to those questions? How do you find out who your customers are and what they want?
The answer has to start with a market research company. Unless you have a very specific set of skills you’re unlikely to have either the expertise or the time to make a real success of surveying your customers, and investing in expert help will reward you many times over.
You need to start by gathering demographic details so you know just who your customers are. One way to do this is by getting a question or two into an omnibus survey: these are packed with questions for different brands, but getting in your own doesn’t cost too much and it also returns all the demographic information from the respondents! This allows you to start constructing a picture of who your market is, segmenting them into different groups you can assign different priorities to, and strategise about how you’re going to appeal to them.
Follow up surveys like brand trackers can show how you’re ranked by consumers against your competitors. As well as showing you how you shape up, they let you make sure people value you for the qualities you’re trying to build into your messaging, which tells you if you’re marketing is achieving what you want to.
This makes for a twofold process of feedback: information about your customers informs your marketing. You then survey them about your marketing to ensure it’s appealing to them, and this drives your future success.