Knowing Your Customer
The more we know about our past customers the more we can tailor our marketing to their specific needs and interests. There is nothing that says "I don't know or care about you" than sending marketing messages to people for products and services that they could never use.
The more quality information you have on customers the more you can tailor our offers and program your future contact with them at appropriate times.
Collecting all that information means that a highly flexible database for marketing is necessary. This is not your customer list that you may use for your tax purposes, this must have more functionality than that. It should be kept updated with new information added to the file when the client is interacting with the business or buying. While this can seem like a lot of work, it is the key to building a business asset will have the capacity to bring you more sales, more profit and less wasted effort.
It will also enhance your business appeal when the time comes to sell the business.
Adding social media to the mix really boosts the range of ways this database can be used effectively.
Know Your Prospective Customers Too!
Long before they become customers you may have touched on people who will become customers in the future. Creating a database for these people too is a sensible way to collate the historical contacts you have had and each contact puts us closer to a sale.
Profiling Your Customers
Taking the time to profile existing and past customers is a good way to deal with the true substance of your customer base. To do this you need to have access to the information that will let you identify key aspects of your customers actual buying history, value of the client to your business over time - Lifetime Value, (dollars they have spent with your business over time)so that your analysis can yield to you quality data that is both objective and subjective. For example Lifetime value is objective (it is a factual data point) and the customer's ability and willingness of referring new customers to you may be more subjective.
Once you have a review of your customer profiles you can identify different types of customers by their characteristics that they share. This also allows you to analyze how that compares with what you would regard as an IDEAL customer. You may have very few of those and lots of customers who are not yet ideal, but unless and until you work through the process you are just guessing.
Guessing is notoriously unreliable. Many times the customers who seem to be the most valuable to the business - are not the ones who are supporting us best.
Now you have your groups of customers separated you can go deeper and create a picture that you build from adding in more common details. Demographic information and income bands and aspiration positions.
You can name each group so they are easy to bring their defining characteristics to mind when you are creating promotional offers for them that are a good fit for their buying patterns and product preferences.
More information on setting up buyer personas here
Capturing the data helps marketers to:
- Recognize who the customers are
- What products they have with the company
- What products they don't have with the company
- When buying needs might arise
- How many times the customer has returned to buy
Smart managers make sure that the company can maximize the potential of the database by treating every customer as an individual.
Target Information To Customers
While big corporations are investing millions of dollars in fine grain data mining of their customer buying traits, all businesses can at least begin to market smart by collating useful data to drive new business and retain existing customers.
Every contact with a customer is an opportunity to enhance the customer database and to use the information in a timely manner to target messages correctly and to encourage interaction with the customer in a two-way communication.
This is the beginning of Relationship marketing and where businesses can build on their knowledge of customers to provide them with standards of service that meet their needs and bring them coming back again and again.
What This Means For Your Business
That's a great jump-off point for generating more referrals and becoming a part of the customers' networks of friends and family who have potential to also become customers.
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Like to discuss your business?
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