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Keeping A Close Ear to the Economic Pulse of Your Customers

Aug 17, 2007
Every business begins with a small seed of an idea, a great invention, or a dream of a new and improved product. While making a profit is surely a concern for any entrepreneur, offering a quality product is also at the forefront of every business. As the business plan grows, a greater vision for the type of desired customers develops. By fully understanding those customers, a business has the opportunity to achieve success.

Your Target Market
Create a profile for your average customer. It is a foundational element of any successful marketing plan. You must find out the ages, education levels, gender, interests, spending habits and much more to effectively speak to your target market.

Market research is the best way to do this. Focus groups and discussions with potential customers is a great way to start. Present these individuals with your product and see what they think.

Encourage candid and critical responses. Listen to them rather than defending the product. If they identify something they don't like, ask them why they don't like it and what you could do to solve the problem. You want to come away from these discussions with solutions and modifications, not more questions.

Another way to reach consumers is through surveys. These can be done in person, on the phone, or through the mail. This is a more hands off approach that allows you to get reactions from a greater number of people. Both focus groups and surveys are effective market research methods that should be used in conjunction with each other.

Defining Why Customers Need You
Upon creating a profile of your customer base, you should be able to clearly define the reason for these people to invest in your company. Why do they need you? What is unique about your product? The most effective way to answer these questions is to study your target market's spending habits. Find out where and why they spend money.

Different people identify different things as "essential" to their lives. It is your job to figure out what your customers dub as necessary spending and then cater to that "need".

There are a number of greater societal factors to keep in mind when studying your customers' spending habits. This is because shifts in the economy are going to cause people to adjust their personal budgets. This includes new legislation, changes in governmental leadership, the stock market, and the housing market. All potential investments should be considered in this process.

Once you have a close ear to the economic pulse of your customers you'll be able to identify specific ways to motivate them. This could mean creating a new version of your product with added features, or simply mailing them a coupon. Incentives are a tried and true way to market. It's all about motivating customers to buy, as well as making them satisfied enough to come back in the future.

Finding Your Target Market
Simply identifying your target market is not enough. You must also know where to find them. In the same way a company researches a community before plopping down a store, you must also know where to place advertisements so your customers will see them. Newspapers, magazines, billboards, television, radio, and the Internet can all be effective vehicles for marketing, depending on your customers.

Know what your customers are reading, what they are listening to, and where they are going in order to know how to reach them. Market research is an invaluable investment for a business to make. Not only will it help you create a better product, it will also help you actually sell that product to interested consumers.
About the Author
Johnny Albertson is a musician, blogger and writer. Visit his blog, Beatin' the Blues for more insights and pearls of wisdom. Johnny is a big fan of Article Marketer, an online article distribution service.
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