The number of marketers using communication channels like e-mail, texting and social media platforms are way higher than the number of consumers using same channels. A recent study shoes that about ninety percent of marketers own a smartphone to fifty-one percent of online customers. Now, as high as ninety-three percent of marketers have made a purchase as a direct response to e-mail marketing message. While on the other hand, only forty-nine percent of online consumers have purchased items through this channel.
What is the importance of this? What is the relevance? This brings up a fundamental and important fact in marketing: If you make assumptions and conclusions about customers based on your own behavior rather than your target audience, you may get it all wrong. I have tried it sometime ago and it resulted to a laughable outcome, yours might be far more serious. If you treat your customers based on your wants, needs and emotions, you might not flow well with them as things that you like might not augur well with them or may be outright alien to them. This can lead to less customers and then result to less sales.
You should know who your ideal customer is. (Marketers might call this a target persona.) But where are these people? Which social networks do they use? What publications do they read? What communities are they part of? Where do they go for information?
Let’s take a cue from some popular adages that can give you real insight about your customer base.
FISH WHERE THERE ARE FISHES
Use the target persona approach. Define your target audience, state clearly who your ideal customer is and try to establish where they are. Ask questions like which social media platforms do they use? What online and offline communities are they part of? Do they read articles, blogs or publications? How do they source their information?
Fishermen tend to fish at the right stream or pool; they don’t really do this by assuming but by asking questions. So don’t assume but ask questions to get the answers you seek. As a marketer, get involved in upfront and personal communication with potential and existing customers, do not leave these for the sales and customer service reps as they most of the time are the people who interact with these customers. So check up your e-mail and mailing list and call a customer today to book an appointment or invite a customer to dinner.
SHOOT WHERE THE PHEASANT WILL BE
Going by Wayne Gretzky’s comment, “Skate to where the puck is going, not to where it has been”. This brings a very important concept that you could apply which is to be there before the sale. Anticipate your customers’ needs and be ready before they even notice that they have a need. You could do this by bringing possible answers to questions they have and those they should be having when they want to make a purchase.
Let’s consider a few blog posts from Yale Appliances and Lighting when they publish products and services online. Posts like “Quiestest Dishwasher by Decibel Rating”; “How to clean your Gas Grill”; “the Four Best Steam Ovens”; etc. shows that these titles read like the contents of Consumer Reports. The management of Boston Appliance Company is trying to position his company not just as a retailer but as a resource. They are always there before the sale.
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
This analogy from George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm has proven to be true in the business world in terms of various customers and their relevance to the business process and progress. Even though Customer is King and all customers are valuable, but there are some that are better than others. Most have constrained budget, some have limited resources while others do not have at all but would indicate interest. So focus your energy toward those that those that would give you the best yield as possible. Even those many customers may lurk in many places around the web – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and other social media groups, try to concentrate on multi-channel marketing to bring in the most returns.