The importance of knowing your customers is not a new concept. For years, small businesses have been trying to understand their market and customer base to help them segment the population and give them a better chance at reaching their target customers. This in turn helps them have a passion and provision company. The tools used to grow your business by understanding your customers have evolved over the years. The “old school” tactics are still important, but the elements needed to truly understand your customers have become more sophisticated. What are the elements needed to better reach your customer base?
Marketers used to do everything they could to get demographics so they could “know” their customer and segment their advertising. Demographics are the data about your customer; basic facts such as eye color, hair color, age, marital status, employment, household income, etc. The assumption was that demographics gave you everything you needed to know about your customers in order to segment your efforts and reach them on the right channel – whether it be radio, TV, or some other form of advertising. It was deemed inefficient to not know your demographics. While demographics are still important, today they are only one part of truly understanding your customers.
A second key element to understand your customers and grow your business are psychographics – information that tells you what motivates your customers, how and why they buy, and why they make decisions. Why does someone buy Pepsi over Coke? Or Charmin over Quilted Northern? You can figure out what people want by analyzing the data. The bigger the group of people gets, the more data you have, but the less you’re able to know them personally. Psychographics provide more information for you to sift through the data to be effective. They let you get to know people on a more personal level.
3. Personality Tests
Another helpful tool that contributes to deeper understanding of psychographics are personality tests. One of the most popular is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which purposes “to make the theory of psychological types described by C.G. Jung understandable and useful in people’s lives.” In other words, personality tests can help you determine your customer’s preferences. A great story about this is told by Malcolm Gladwell in his article for the New Yorker titled “The Ketchup Conundrum.” It discusses why mustard now comes in dozens of varieties and ketchup has stayed the same. Spoiler alert: it’s all based on what a company discovered their customers wanted based on their personalities and preferences. Personality tests can help your small business determine that too.
If you are serious about analyzing your data and taking the steps needed to understand your customers to grow your business, you’ll also want to develop buyer personas using the demographics, psychographics and personality preferences discussed above. Personas are semi-fictitious representations of your ideal customers. Each persona represents a different type of ideal customer. They allow you to personalize your marketing message so it’s no longer just data, and present it in a way your customers will understand. It’s recommended that a small business has at least 2 but not more than 7 buyer personas.
Access the Information
As you try to get to know your customers better the challenge you face will be twofold:
- How do you find the data?
- How do you use the data?
If you’re buying advertising, like TV or radio spots, start by asking your sales rep for the data. This will mostly include demographics, but remember these are still an important part of reaching your customers, just not the only part. Next, observe your customer base by using the psychographics and personality tests to develop your buyer personas. For example, you could have your customers fill out a questionnaire that gets you actionable data, such as, “On a scale of 1 – 10, how likely are you to recommend us to a friend or family member? What is the biggest reason for your answer?”
It’s important in marketing and business in general to use and understand the data and tools available to get to know the world of your customers, and in turn, grow your business.
If your small business would like help implementing the elements above to understand your customers better, contact us at Half a Bubble Out. We’re a passion and provision company that offers marketing, advertising and consulting to help grow your business.