Recently, I was asked what I think is the most important small business marketing issue for 2013.
It’s not the first time I’ve addressed this question. During a presentation I made at a trade show in 1992, my answer was “to learn more about your customers.”
Some of you reading this post, like those in my audience, said, “you got to be kidding, Mike. I know all I need to know about my customers.”
Wrong. Using the Pareto Principle, 80% of you do not know enough. Of the remaining 20%, 15% should learn more. Why?
Today is 20 years later. Back in 1992 are best communication channels were the landline telephone, face-to-face, and direct mail. Today, customers have literally hundreds of channels to communicate.
Some of your competitors may have reached out to your customers or even snagged a prospect or two. Yes, your competitors have many different communication channels to use.
Maybe, your customer turn-over rate is higher than what it was. Maybe the time is right for your company to be more customer-centric. Here’s a couple of ways to head in that direction.
For example, interpret customer needs by studying their demographics, buying patterns, expanding the use of customer segments, and make sure this information is all put into a database. These are great starting tools to begin developing a better picture of your customers.
Imagine using this information today so you can have more meaningful customer relationships, relevant communications, and encourage customers to refer their friends.
I use my data to test assumptions. Now, one of my favorite testing tools to use is analytics. After I send an email to customers, I learn even more about my customer’s interest and able to test some assumptions. How? I use multi-channel communications with email to hit more of my target audience.
The result is a better use of marketing communications and ad campaigns become more successful.
Here is another reason a customer focus today is more challenging than in 1992. There is better technology, a variety of marketing channels and a host of other diversions that may get a customer’s attention. So the more you learn about your customers and prospects, makes your marketing easier.
Once marketing becomes easier, it’s much more affordable. Once you start seeing the fruits of your customer knowledge, more time is spent on using marketing that works and less time on speculative marketing. This is truly customer-centric marketing at its best.
Do you still think you truly know your customer’s and what they want. Maybe not.
If that’s your belief for your business, then ask yourself this one question. “Who is more in control of the buying process than ever before?”
Comments? Questions? Let me know if I can help and share some of my marketing prescriptions.
That's always great to hear. Thanks.