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How can I understand my customers better?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013 | By Adam Ferrier

I’m starting up a retail operation and I’m considering my marketing plan. However, I don’t have much idea who my target customers are and not sure how I can best reach out to them to spend their money with me. How can I better understand my customers and know what appeals to them?


Hmm, if you are going to start up a retail operation and don’t know who your target customers are for your marketing campaign then you are in lot of trouble, for two key reasons:


1) would shouldn’t separate your marketing campaign from your strategy.


2) You have to know your consumer before you start your business.


As someone once said, "Advertising is the tax you pay for not having a remarkable product". The better you know your customer, the more remarkable your product will be (to them).


Many people believe they should have something (a retail space) and then work out how to market it. This is wasteful thinking, as ‘everything communicates’. Therefore everything is part of your marketing campaign. Your shop front, how you treat staff, how you treat customers, your loyalty cards, what you sell. Absolutely everything is part of your marketing campaign.


Use all of these elements to deliver on your customer needs and then ‘marketing’ for ‘marketing sake’ becomes less important. Your marketing should be embedded into your business model – not an afterthought.


The more you know your customer the more you are going to be able to deliver on their needs, and give them an experience they find enjoyable. Get your brand as tight as possible - stay focussed. Spend time with some of your core customers, understand what they like about the brand you’ve created/are creating.


How do you know the right things to ask?


Think of the six W’s:


  • Who are they
  • What are their demographics
  • What types of stores do they like to tell about themselves
  • What are their motivations / needs / hopes / desires are
  • Where and when do they like to shop, how do they shop, and think of the same for where and when they consume your product
  • What’s missing from their life?
  • What do you offer that competitors don’t?


Think of all the reason why someone won’t come to your shop and remove as many of those barriers as possible.

At the end of the day, keep things simple:


1) ‘Everything communicates’


2) ‘Know your customer’.