Know Your Customer

Foundations for Successful Marketing – Part 4

Know Your Customer

Foundations for Successful Marketing – Part 4

Understand Your Market Segments

Once you have identified your USP and your competitive advantages, develop a profile of your best customers and potential customers, defining them as clearly and concisely as possible. Focus your marketing efforts on those you have already defined as your best prospects – those who are most likely to want your product or service, who are most inclined to acknowledge your competitive advantage.

Determine who is most likely to buy from you and know why they are most likely to do so, by assessing and evaluating your market research, reviewing your previous successes, and trusting your ability to know both your product and your customer base. As the old adage goes, ’shoot where the ducks are flying’ and maximize the efficiency of your targeting.

Peter F. Drucker, often described as the founder of modern management, said “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits (them) and sells itself.”

Demographics and Psychographics

Gather as much information as you can about your customers’ demographic and psychographic profiles. Demographics has to do with external and clearly measurable characteristics such as age, gender, marital status, and income. Psychographics are internal, and include more nebulous characteristics such as motivations, ambitions, goals, needs, and desires. Your customer’s demographics and psychographics are foundational to the way you market your business.

Everything in your campaign should be geared toward appealing to your ideal customer. You can research much of this for yourself (including studying the effectiveness of your competitors and where they are most successful) but you may also find the services of an agency or a professional market research firm to be of great value.

Trust your instincts to help you define your customer in as much detail as possible – not just with ‘facts and figures’ – but also their goals, aspirations, wants, needs, motivations, hopes, fears, doubts, worries, and problems that you and your business can solve. Ask yourself again why people would buy from you – what unique value propositions you offer them – and conversely, what might preclude them from buying from you. Then you can market to those strengths, and counter-market to those weaknesses. As an example – if you know your customers see the value in what you do, but think the cost is potentially too high, come up with a risk free trial offer that will alleviate that fear and permit them to test out that value for themselves.

“Speak to your audience in their language about what’s in their heart.” –Jonathan Lister, LinkedIn

Context Matters

As you are developing your marketing campaign, pay attention to the current context, including the political, social and economic forces at play around you. Carefully evaluate the images and language you are using in

your campaign materials to avoid any appearance of impropriety, innuendo, prejudice or exploitation.

Have your materials reviewed by people who are ‘not like you’ to ensure that your materials are not perceived as offensive and cannot be misinterpreted or misconstrued.

The Internet is filled with examples of major campaigns that were not fully evaluated from a wide range of perspectives, and failed miserably, or provoked intense negative reactions from consumers. In an era of what
may seem like hypersensitivity, marketers need to be hypersensitive in evaluating their own materials before the global marketplace does.

Electrolux Vacuums

Electrolux Vacuum Cleaners had a very successful marketing campaign in Britain using the tag line “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.” Needless to say, that same marketing campaign in the US brought only negative publicity and derision. Nothing changed in the wording or the intention of the campaign – but the context made all the difference.

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