Whatever the sector in which your business operates and whatever products it offers, you won’t be able to make profit unless you convince people to purchase your product – and you won’t be able to do that unless the customer feels they have a genuine need for that product.
Did you know that according to a Forbes report, most American consumers repeatedly purchase the same 150 items that satisfy more than 85% of their requirements? It’s a similar story across other markets like the UK and Europe, which goes some way to demonstrating just how tough a task your company has to break into people’s buying habits.
To persuade those customers that they truly need what you’re offering, you need to show that you understand those needs. This is the knowledge that will underpin your entire marketing approach. But what do you need to know about your customers, and how can you use this to sell to them more effectively?
Why do your customers need you?
Central to your business’s appeal to its target customers will be its Unique Sales Proposition, or USP. What is the big, big reason that customers will purchase from your firm, rather than a rival?
Your USP isn’t necessarily something that will be preserved in aspic forever – indeed, it may evolve as your business and market change, and you may even have different USPs for different categories of customer.
Nonetheless, it’s important to at least have a sense of what appealingly differentiates your company from the competitor down the road. Does your firm offer a broader range of products than any local rival? Or maybe you’re more price-focused, giving discounts to those who spend a certain minimum amount, or cater to time-pressed customers with services like same-day delivery?
Do you know who your customers are?
It sounds like common sense, but so many businesses don’t seem to fully appreciate that they are better-equipped to attract customers if they actually know their target audience. Don’t just ask who your customers are – including basic demographic information like age – but also exactly what these people are likely to buy, and why they need it.
You can conduct research of your own to answer these questions, including simply talking to your customers about why they are or aren’t buying certain products, as well as what they may need to purchase in the future and what other requirements they have. Knowing the latter may even enable you to envisage and market a product to them that isn’t in their mind yet.
What’s the next step of marketing to these customers?
There are lots of things that you can do to market your products according to your customers’ needs. You could familiarise yourself with what is known as the ‘marketing mix’ – the ‘four Ps’ of product, price, place and promotion, as detailed on the Business Case Studies site.
Once you’ve built up an appreciation of exactly who your customers are and what they need, you might even feel confident enough to launch into a whole new marketing campaign. Update, refresh or expand your business’s social media presence, reconsider the design or content of your firm’s website or explore the retail marketing solutions of an ecommerce marketplace like Groupon to ensure that your brand reaches more of the most relevant people with relatively little cost or effort.