One of the most important chapters in the book of marketing is customer segmentation and targeting. You need to know who you’re reaching and how you’re making your product or service relevant to their needs, wants or desires. Without a keen understanding of your target segment, everything else may fall apart.
The challenge however is this. How do you know who they really are?
In an interesting post on targeting customers, Randall Beard shared that we should follow what direct marketers do and look at what customers do rather than who we think they should be. Look at who is buying your product and find out what their backgrounds and motivations are.
For household products, Beard suggests that you could ask questions such as these:
– What do these households look like?
– Are they truly women aged 25-34?
– What do these households watch?
– How did their media consumption differ from the original plan?
Once you’ve got updated information on who your precise customers are, modify your marcoms strategies – from messaging, creative, media channels, to partners – in order to best meet the needs of these segments. Adapt, modify and refine your promotions and dig deeper into understanding why segment A rather than segment B (whom you originally intended the product for) is buying from you.
Similarly, service or experience based businesses like museums, amusement arcades and theme parks should adopt more precise methods in customer analytics. Rather than assume most of your visitors are families, conduct surveys and eyeball observations to see who they really are. Find out what catches their fancy – a new ride, a particular product in a retail store, or an interactive feature – and jot down what they do.
The best way to do this? Begin by developing a solid Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy (not the IT system mind you), supported by the relevant technology and applications. See if there is a way to link your cash registers to your customer databases, so that you can track useful information such as purchase histories, volumes, product preferences, and values.
By enriching your customer data capture methods, you are able to better understand who they truly are, and to develop marketing strategies that are more precise, relevant and attractive. Knowing the action on the ground on a daily basis is far better than all the fancy audience research, consumer data, and future trends that money can buy.