10 Unique Ways to Learn About the Target Customer


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We’ve all built strong friendships before, but most of us don’t think about how they began. In most cases, you find a person that you really click with, spend more time together, ask questions about background and interests, and before you know it, you’re inseparable. Your relationship with your customers should be similar, but you might not know how to make that happen.

Here are a few suggestions you may not have tried.

1. Operate Data Production in Real Time

This might go without saying, but you must collect your data as it happens. Outdated data is useless when it comes to predicting upcoming trends and fully understanding customers.

2. Consider the Purchasing History

One Yesmail/Gleanster study showed that more than half of all marketers understand their customers’ past purchasing behavior, but less than half actually utilize the information to its full capacity. Make sure you use information to your advantage to gain insights beyond the demographics.

3. Invest in Understanding Data

If you were a big business, you’d have an entire team devoted to the translation of data. As a small to mid-size business, you may not have the capacity, but if you want to grow, you’ll invest in data production and translation. You’ll get much more out of your data and make it go much further if you do what’s necessary to boost your data department.

4. Visit Your Audience at Home

You might know where your customers live, but have you ever been there? You can learn a lot about your customers simply by paying a visit to their area. Begin by looking at local listing sites to find neighborhoods that match the price point of your target audience. Then, travel to the area to learn more about your audience.

5. Focus on the Lifecycle

The customer lifecycle refers to the length and nature of a customer’s relationship with a company. Do what it takes to maintain that relationship through social media engagement, emails of gratitude, and other gestures. Also, continuously work on improving the relationship in order to learn what it takes to make customers stay. This information is best utilized to enhance your future customer relationships.

6. Put Yourself in Big Business’s Shoes

If there’s one thing big businesses do best, it’s maintain excellent customer relationships. You can learn a thing or two from them by putting your business in their shoes. Analyze all collected data, and then act using the tools you have available to you. It’ll take time, but eventually, you’ll be able to grow your business to the size of those whose thought processes you’re mimicking.

7. Use Customer Triggers

The best thing about customers is that they usually tell you exactly what they want if you’re wiling to listen. They’ll send triggers in the way they shop, purchase items, and interact with you. Identify your most important and loyal customers in order to pick up the most relevant customer data.

8. Challenge What You Know

There are a lot of assumptions made in business, which is often the only way things are accomplished. But don’t assume that these assumptions are always correct. Always challenge what you think you know by trying new methods, reframing your data, and testing theories. Even if these methods and theories turn out to be false, it’s still worth your time because someday you’ll do something entirely new and totally successful.

9. Be Agile in Data Collection

In addition to continually trying new things, be willing to alter your methods of data collection as you go in order to better meet the needs of your company. Your customer needs are constantly changing, and your collection processes should change, too, in order to keep your methods fresh and your customers happy.

10. Capture All the Data and Use Every Bit of It

Never underestimate the power of data. Gather as much as you can, and use all of it – even the stuff that doesn’t seem very important. The rough data is often the most telling as far as your customers’ behaviors and experiences go. By looking beneath the surface, you’ll find information that shows you how best to apply your tools and resources so you can get to know your customers.

Larry Alton
Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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