Your customers are the lifeblood of your business; you can?t have a strong business without a strong customer base. However, through the daily grind of your business and life, it is easy to lose focus on your customers, especially when it comes to marketing. That?s why this month, we?re going to center our content on how you can put your customer front and center of your marketing efforts.
The most successful businesses are those that are able to evolve to meet the changing needs of their customers.?
Sometimes this requires a full-scale pivoting of their business model and marketing efforts. Other times, small changes in how you deliver on your UVP and therefore how you promote yourself and your business are all you need.?
For example, let?s look at Domino?s Pizza. For years they had the 30-minute or less delivery model. Over time that model became unfeasible, so they had to move to other offers, such as their $5.99 carryout special during the week. This special allows busy parents, working professionals, students, etc. the opportunity to pick up a hot pizza on the way home for under $10.?
Dominoes realized that their target customers didn?t just need options for dinner, but needed and wanted quick and inexpensive options they could pick up on the way home instead of having to spend extra time making dinner or extra money on other, more expensive, options. Then they addressed that need.?
So, how can you anticipate and then address the needs of your audience?
Let?s take a look.
Look to Solve NEW Problems
Your first step is a willingness to change and evolve with your target audience. It is easy to fall in love with your core services and products (we completely understand!). However, as your customers evolve, so do their needs.?
In the Domino’s example, they saw that the needs of their customers had changed so they changed to meet those needs. You have to focus on the future as well as the present to remain relevant today and long into the future.?
Try to see what problems your audience may experience in the future and how your organization may be able to address those new problems.?
Ask for Customer Feedback
A great way to anticipate your customer?s needs is simply to ask; develop surveys and ask for feedback through email, social media, and even in-person that address how and if you are currently meeting their needs. It may also be useful to find out in which direction they are going with their lives.?
Is your audience primarily college students that are graduating soon? Are they starting a family? Starting another business venture or branching out with their current one? Or are they older parents whose kids are out of the house and are close to retiring?
Whatever the case might be, if your audience is moving to a new chapter of their lives it is imperative that you understand what those changes are so you can determine how you might help.?
It could be providing the same services or products but in a different way, or you could find an entirely new way to be of value. But those answers will help you determine which of their needs are not being met by you or your competition so you can then figure out how you can address them.?
Empower Your Team
One of the best things you can do for your business and your employees is to empower your team so they are confident in their interactions with your customers.
Allow your frontline employees or lower-management to make decisions regarding customer satisfaction. It may be giving a refund if necessary or potentially providing a custom service if possible.?
Chances are there will be some missteps, but those are opportunities to improve. The important thing with this step is you are ensuring your customers? needs are met without your team always having to speak to you or someone in upper management.?
Create a Culture of Communication
It is impossible to understate the importance of communication. It?s not just vital to the success of your marketing efforts, but you need good and effective communication for your business to succeed.?
You will NOT succeed if you can?t effectively communicate your ideas, your mission, your marketing message, important dates, notes about customer service, updates to products and services, or any other important information.?
Make sure you create avenues of communication that allow you and your management team to communicate effectively with your staff. Also, make sure that communication is a two-way street; this is a vital part of empowering your team.
A culture of communication will allow you to better understand the needs of your customers because everyone, at all levels of your organization, is on the same page with respect to the direction of the company. They understand what you are trying to accomplish and their role in the process. So when an issue arises, whether it is a one-time customer issue or potentially a recurring problem, your team will be able to quickly resolve it.?
Pay Attention to the Data
Your data has a story to tell; that?s why we?re always repeating how important it is that you pay attention to it so you can understand how your business is operating.?
Here is a potential story you might see:
- In the past twelve months sales of your number one service have steadily declined about 2% each month
- Additionally, in the past twelve months, complaints about wait time have increased from three every month to now just under six per month
- Finally, your primary local competitor has expanded in the last year by opening three new locations
Looking at each of the points above individually might raise an eyebrow or two, but otherwise might not be cause for too much alarm. However, when you look at them all together, you can see how you are steadily losing revenue, your customers are getting increasingly upset, and your primary competitor is positioning themselves to become the better option.?
By closing analyzing your sales data, customer satisfaction surveys, and keeping an eye on your competition, you might be able to catch a serious issue while you still have time to address it.?
Learn from the Past, Plan for the Future
This last point ties everything together. Your customer?s previous behavior can tell you a lot about what they might do in the future. This is why empowering your team, creating a culture of communication, and studying the data is so important. You want to learn as much from the past as you can so you can better understand how you can proceed in the future.?
Domino?s Pizza came to see that the 30-Minute or less delivery model was no longer feasible. So, they evolved to meet the needs of their customers in a different way. For your business to remain relevant for years to come, you must do the same.?