Knowing your customers is the vital component of any business or marketing plan… no clients, no business. A business needs to know:
• Who their existing/potential customers are
• What do they want
• Why do they/will they buy from our business
The Web has added new dimensions to the following questions:
• How do they/will they buy your products or services
• How will the customer now use your products
• How do you provide your product to your client
• Where are your clients – local/national/global
• Demographics of the buyer(s) in your client (age, gender, location etc) may change – can it be broader or does it have to be more focussed
• Will the buyer in your client change – different family or staff member; national rather than local
• Are there new influencers to your target customer – for things such as emotional factors and awareness (“word of mouth” is now huge)
• Do you have more competition for your target customer
It may have added new dimensions, but it has not necessarily made it more complicated. The Web is also a source of more information about things such as:
• Trends of your target customer in products related to yours
• What your competition is doing to attract the target customers
• What additional benefits does your customer want from your product
• Changes in the demographics that may influence the size/identity of your target customer
This can be taken to the level of making it easier to find out what your customers think about you and your products. Then using this to retain and increase your client base.
What this increase in information provided by the Web means is that your business now has to focus more on your target customer and continually review this. You need to identify your most valuable client. Then you must investigate how the web might affect them in things such as how and how much they buy and what influences them.
The Web may even change your most valuable client. It could be as simple as a different age range or more dramatic, such as moving from B2B to B2C.
As stated above, the Web has not made your business more complicated. It just means that you should use it not just to market or sell your product, but to identify your client and define your business.
By using the Web to help identify your client, you can make the Web open more doors or less, bigger doors.