The art of marketing is the never-ending challenge to answer this question: What
emotional needs do my customers have that my business could fulfill? To help
you find the answer, we suggest that you start by collecting information on
your customers through a variety of techniques, including conducting customer
surveys and performing demographic research and analysis.
“One size fits all” is not a business strategy
No business can possibly expect to be all things to all people, and any that
tries will likely have portions of their business siphoned off by specialized
businesses that can better meet the needs of particular customer segments. “One
size fits all” business strategies don’t work because customers
tend to belong to distinct product market segments that have their own set
of common characteristics, and unique needs and preferences.
So, how can you optimize your profit centers and gain a competitive advantage?
It really won’t be possible until you begin to notice and distinguish
the common characteristics that most of your customers possess, and to match
your product offerings to the needs of the customers.
Surveying what makes your customers tick
The most important thing you can do is to start collecting as much information
as you possibly can about your customers. A good idea is to create a survey
that will help you find out what they have in common. Are they mostly male
or female? What age ranges do they fall in? What is their education level?
Are they married or single? Do they have children? If so, are the children
at home, or grown and gone? Most importantly, what kind of emotional gratification
are they looking for in return for their money, and what do you have to offer
that can meet their emotional needs?
Research tools at your fingertips
Another tactic is to conduct research about customer demographics. The U.S.
Census Bureau has a treasure trove of demographics broken down by counties
and major metropolitan areas. If you do business outside the U.S., check
with local government agencies to see what information they have available.
The more accurate and complete information you have about your customers, the
better able you’ll be to craft a marketing strategy to meet their needs—and to draw more of them to your business. Now doesn’t that paint a nice picture?