By Updated September 18, 2020
Regardless of what industry you’re in or what kinds of products and services you sell, your customer is the most important part of your business. Without the customer, you don’t see any sales. As a result, they are a critical factor when developing your marketing messaging and strategy. If you fail to take the customers’ views into account in your marketing, it’s likely your campaigns will not be successful.
Understanding The Importance of Marketing to Consumers and Their Needs
According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, the business’ most important job is to know their customers. When you have an idea of who they are and what they need, businesses can develop products and services that are tailored to helping customers solve their problems more effectively. If you’re not creating offerings based on customer needs, you may not be able to sell them.
Knowing who your customers are also helps businesses to develop highly customized messaging that resonates with their customers. However, businesses often have many different kinds of customers, so it’s difficult to know who to specifically target with their marketing. Business Development Bank of Canada suggests keeping the 80/20 rule in mind when developing marketing. This means that 80 percent of your sales will come from 20 percent of your customers, or thereabouts. As a result, it’s best to target your most profitable clients in your marketing to encourage them to come back time and time again.
Segmenting Your Customers Effectively
One of the most effective ways marketers can take their customers into account when developing their campaigns is to segment them based on specific criteria. It’s vital to understand that not all customers have the same needs or behave the same way toward products. As a result, when you can segment customers based on similar criteria, you can develop marketing for each segment for better results.
NetMBA outlines the four key ways to segment a consumer market:
- Demographic: This includes age, gender, sex, family status, occupation, income, race, nationality and other similar criteria. For example, a married woman with kids will need different marketing messaging than a senior male with no family.
- Geographic: Where a customer lives affects their needs and challenges. Geographic criteria for segmentation includes region, climate and population density. Someone living in a rural area will respond to messaging that’s different than someone living in a big city. Similarly, weather patters will affect the kinds of products and services they need.
- Psychographic: This element is about the lifestyle of the customer, and includes aspects such as attitudes, opinions, interests and values. For example, someone who values sustainability may only respond to marketing from companies who have environmentally responsible manufacturing processes.
- Behavioral: This segmentation criteria is about how the customer behaves toward the product or service a business sells. It includes customer loyalty, the benefits they are looking for, how ready they are to buy and how often they use the product. For example, someone who has bought the product several times before requires a different marketing approach than someone who has never heard of the company.
Create buyer personas of your key target market segments and use these reference documents when developing any marketing or sales campaigns. This will ensure you keep the customer top of mind at all times.
Offering Results and Benefits for Clarity
Businesses often have a tendency to discuss product and service features in their marketing, such as how many settings a toaster has or the thread count of a bedsheet. While these features are important to know, they fail to take into account the results and benefits customers are after. For more effective marketing that resonates with your customers, it’s critical to focus on what the customer is actually looking for. Are they looking for a toaster with 20 settings, or are they looking for the perfect toast in the morning? Are they looking for 800 thread count sheets, or are they looking for luxurious sleep?
Using Emotional Language to Build Relationships
In many cases, the purchasing decision is an emotional one. While consumers have needs for specific products and services that are logical, the motivation to buy is often emotional. For example, a customer that needs new running shoes because her old ones are worn out may feel frustrated not being able to find the perfect pair and worried her feet will hurt if she gets the wrong shoes.
Businesses who want to appeal more closely to their customers need to use emotional language in their marketing in order to help customers self-identify. If the marketing is only logical without any emotional appeal, it may not resonate as deeply with the customer. In this example, advertising a shoe sale is a logical push for consumers, but saying that getting new shoes will help them feel like they’re walking on a soft cloud is an emotional one. Combining them is the best way to reach customers with marketing.
Offering Proof and Credibility
Not only is it important for businesses to consider customer needs when developing marketing, they should also use customer information within the marketing itself. Case studies and testimonials are vital marketing materials for businesses in many industries. They help provide a sense of social proof that the business’ claims are true and that their products and services actually work.
Previous customers are the most important proof that potential buyers need to be convinced. In addition to using customer case studies and testimonials in your marketing, also consider asking customers to post positive reviews. While case studies and testimonials are typically on a business’ own website, reviews are posted to third-party sites like Yelp. This helps prospects see them as objective and impartial viewpoints.
Asking for Feedback
Forbes recommends not only considering customers in your marketing strategy, but also in your customer experience strategy. This means asking key customers for feedback on specific interactions and engagements to understand how the business can improve its processes, products and customer service.
The importance of marketing to the society is that businesses can learn from their responses. For example, if the majority of customers report that they feel rushed when trying on clothes in the change rooms because of the staff, it means that reviewing that process is necessary. If the majority of customers report that they love the way they are greeted when coming to the store, then the business can see how to replicate that response in other areas of the business.
Testing Your Marketing and Sales Tactics
Not only can understanding your customers help create better marketing, but it can help improve marketing campaigns with each iteration. Forbes suggests A/B testing all marketing campaigns on small segments of your customers before rolling them out to larger segments. This means you can test things like messaging, taglines, call-to-action buttons, sales offers and more. Once you see which aspects customers prefer, then you can roll out the finalized campaign to the rest of your target audience.
When marketing with consumers in mind, it’s critical to understand that the best way to know what your customers want is to ask them. A/B testing gives customers an opportunity to respond to design, copy and offers and show what appeals to them the most. Businesses will find the most success with marketing that has been created with customers in mind.