If you are to become a truly customer-centric organisation then you should clarify who your Customers are. It's tempting to think of a business appealing directly to retail consumers, but an organisation's customers can be served through many channels in a similar manner.
B2B? B2B2C? B2C? G2B? G2C? G2G?
Defining your target market is one of a marketer’s most important tasks. It’s the foundation of all elements of your marketing strategy, from how you develop and name your products or services right through to the marketing channels you use to promote them.
Your target audience is not 'everyone'. Your task in defining your target group is to identify and understand your particular sector so that you can dominate it.
Some organisations are service-oriented rather than sales-led, or have a great variety of customers, but nevertheless each needs to understand its customers’ personas and clearly communicate the Why, and the value it gives each group.
The better you understand your target market, the more closely you’ll be able to acquire, activate, and retain customers, and incur cost only to reach the audience most likely to convert into customer and remain a customer.
In a B2C situation, the people who are most likely to buy your products or receive your services are usually united by some common characteristics, like demographics and behaviours.
Who are your current customers?
Once you understand the defining characteristics of your existing customer base, you can group similar people. Depending on how someone connects with your business, you might have only a little information about them, or a lot. Some data points you might want to consider are:
Age: knowing which decade of life your customers are in can be very useful.
Stage of life: Are your customers likely to be college students? New parents? Homeowners? Retirees?
Location and time-zone: useful to know when they might want to use your services
Language: Don’t assume your customers speak the same language you do.
Interests: What do your customers like to do, besides using your products or services?
Spending power and patterns: How much money do your current customers have to spend? How do they approach purchases in your price category?
If you’re selling B2B products, your categories will look a little different. You might want to collect information about the size of businesses that buy from you, their customers, and information about the titles of the people who tend to make the buying decisions. Understanding who within the company you need to speak to is a critical first step.
B2B Customer Success
Whether your customer is internal within your organisation or is a separate external organisation, in order for your business to succeed, you’ll recall you need to have clarity on your Why, along with a certain mindset, drive, innovative products, engaging marketing and boundless enthusiasm.
Those things all help, but the real success of any business is directly related to the success of your customer. If you’re helping solve problems, and clients find success with your solutions, then they’ll continue using your product.
Gaining more customers and existing customers buying again is our aim.
Customer success occurs when your customers achieve the desired outcome through interactions with your company, either directly or through your product and/or service. It is their success – they have got what they want.
That can be broken down into two key elements in order to achieve success.
- The desired outcome. Business customers have a certain expectation, or result, of using your product. You’ll remember when we spoke about the Value that you Sell, that customer value is all about subjective perceptions, which can only be influenced, not controlled.
- Beneficial interaction with your company. Since every company is different it’s not appropriate to just refer to interactions with your product. Success for your client isn’t only about the use of the product. It comes from experiences at each stage of the buying cycle across different teams.
Fill in the gaps in your knowledge of your customers
Audience research using social media can be a great way of filling in the gaps in your customer analysis. It can also help you understand who’s interacting with your social accounts, even if those people are not yet customers. This is a topic in its own right, so is not pursued here.
Check out the competition
Now that you know who’s already interacting with your business and buying your products or services, it’s time to see who’s engaging with the competition. Finding out who the profile of who is buying elsewhere is a topic in its own right, so it’s not included here.
Be clear about the value of your product or service
We’ve already mentioned that your company must exist to deliver value to your customers. You can list the features of your product all day long, but no one will be convinced to buy from you unless you can explain the benefits. Features are what your product is or does. The benefits are the results. The benefits also help you define your target audience. Having a clear view on how your product makes someone’s life easier, or better, or just more interesting, is key to identifying who the customers should be.
Next: What are your Product Benefits?
“Sell me this pen” is a line that will forever be associated with The Wolf of Wall Street. Customers are rarely interested in the functional capabilities of your product, rather the value they will receive from it. In What are you Product Benefits? we explore this value in terms of needs, expectations, requirements and motivations.