Getting to Know your Customers is One of the Most Important Commandments of Running a Business
Your company does not exist without customers, simply put. Regardless of how much time, money, and effort you put into your business, it will never survive without customers. You have to know the market well enough to start your company, but that knowledge extends to keeping your business afloat. Just because there was a need for your unique product or service when you began does not indicate that there is a need now or in the future. Taking the time to know your customers is perhaps the best thing you can do for your business’ longevity.
Marketing the Right Way to the Right Customer
What, you ask, do you need to know about them—other than the fact they exist? More than just age, gender, and location, you need to understand the general personality of your clientele. Take Dove, a well-known soap manufacturer, for example. In 2004 they launched the Campaign For Real Beauty in response to women’s lack of confidence in their appearance rooted in the media’s limited definition of beauty. The following year, Dove used an image of six real women—not professional models—with different body types in their soap and body wash advertisements. In a recent television ad, ordinary looking women wash themselves and dance around a bathroom in their underwear. They are targeting a specific group of female customers, and it is working.
Dove (and its marketing agent, Ogilvy and Mather) invested resources in knowing exactly who its customers are and tailored its marketing strategies to capitalize upon that knowledge. Data from a recent study the company conducted shows that only 4% of women believe they are beautiful, while nearly three-quarters of girls between ages ten and seventeen feel an enormous pressure to be “beautiful.” Dove capitalized on this statistic, forging a campaign to make all women feel comfortable and beautiful in their own skin. Their advertisements are an attempt to empower the customer to feel wonderful in her own skin. Wouldn’t you rather buy a product that makes you feel good about yourself?
Dove’s strategy worked: The Campaign for Real Beauty was so successful that Dove’s global sales passed $1 billion by the end of the first year and continue to rise remarkably.
Dove is a great example of the importance of knowing your customers for marketing purposes if you are looking to boost your sales. However, understanding the demographic information of your customers can help you determine the best distribution methods, prices to set, and areas to target. If you have a retail business, you must know the personalities and buying behaviors of your customers before you add or eliminate lines or trends.
Using Demographics to Help Optimize Your Marketing
If you have an online business, you need to know demographic information in order to optimize your website. Google Insights gives information on where people are located who search for various products. For example, if you want to promote your custom furniture business, you can find which areas have the highest number of searches for custom furniture.
Similarly, Microsoft’s Demographic Prediction Tool gives you demographic information such as age, gender, location, etc. of the people who type in various search phrases.
Google Analytics will tell you where the visitors to your website live, and what language they speak. Quantcast and Alexa will also give you demographic data for a specific domain name, including how popular your site is compared to competitors’. Additionally, take advantage of the resources available within Google Adplanner for search engine optimization of your site. If you want to learn how to use Google analytic’s you should read this article: http://mashable.com/2011/05/24/how-to-use-google-analytics/
There is no doubt that you need to know your customers, and the benefits of knowing and using this information will help you make strategic decisions for your business. Take advantage of the various resources that provide demographic information online, and get creative in knowing your customers through other ways, such as surveys, polls, etc. The effort is worth it: you will undeniably make more accurate sales predictions, determine the best marketing plan, and have an edge over your competitors!