Something that many companies forget to do is really get to understand their customer. And by that we mean existing customers, future customers and potential customers.

Having an amazing product and the best service is great, but if you don’t know who is your ideal customer – why would they want to buy the product? Why would you want to have them as a customer – are they the right fit for your business? Then how do you even know where – or how – to sell and promote your offering?

Research can take the form of desk research or field-based. And you should keep on top of this activity as you grow your business. Remember, the customer you start off with may not always be the one you end up with!

Here are some things you should think about when researching your customer base:

  1. How many potential customers are there? Are you looking for mass market, or is your offering only going to be attractive to a niche market? Does the size of audience make your business viable? If you will only appeal to a handful of people, how will you continue to grow your business?
  2. Who is responsible for purchasing decisions? If you’re targeting customers, is it a family decision (new house, next holiday location), a couple decision (wedding venue), or is it driven by the kids and peer pressure (the latest toy). If it’s a business, is it the finance team? Is there a professional procurement person? Does the owner make all purchasing decisions? Or does it depend on what your service is offering? And then remember, the person making the decision – or the one with the desire for the product – may not be the purchaser (think about kids at Christmas – they have the want but not the means to buy – so the parent is the purchaser and the child is the influencer. Both are important).
  3. Where is the buying done? Is it a busy mum doing the food shopping on her way home from the office? Is it dad booking the family holiday online? If it’s a business, does the remote head office look after all purchasing?
  4. Where are you customers based? Are they all local (for instance, a coffee shop or bakery) or can they be anywhere? (think of an online shop).
  5. How do they want to access your products or services? Could they buy 24/7? Or if it’s a personal service where they need to contact you as an individual? A website is obviously a great way of allowing customers to purchase from you at any time and from any location.
  6. Where are they buying from at the moment? Does your offering effectively compete against this provider?
  7. Which media does your target customer consume? If you want to start advertising, you need to know where to find your customer!

Need help with your customers? We’d love to talk, 01482 672642.