Simply having a product or service isn't enough to get people interested. No matter how good it is, people won't buy what they don't know exists. In order to make yourself and what you have to offer known, you need to promote. Effective promoting requires knowing who your ideal customer is, where they hang out and what their buying habits are. This requires collecting a great deal of data. How you put this data together and analyze it will determine your marketing strategy.
Why You Need to Understand Your Customers
Understanding your customer's buying habits helps you know where to target your advertising efforts and dollars. Arctic dwellers don't buy air conditioners and vegans aren't going to swarm to buy your survival beef jerky. You need to know things about your customers like:
- Age group
- Which social media draws them?
- What is their income?
- How often do they buy your type of product?
- Why do they buy it?
- What is the emotion behind their purchase?
The list is nearly endless. The more you know about this customer, the more highly targeted you can make your promotions, and this focused targeting shows in increased sales. Many studies have been done on average consumer buying habits, but these only help a bit. You need to know your particular buyer's habits and that requires collecting data.
Where Do I Store All This Data?
Collecting this kind of data is fine, but without a decent customer relationship management (CRM) program, this information is pretty useless. You need something that can gather this information, examine it and combine all the bits and pieces into a usable form. With a customized CRM program, you have one centralized place to record your data. More than that, however, you have an analytical tool that can be programmed to pull all the various data together to form pictures for various situations. Your needs can be met whether you need to find out the best time and place to make a move or what your ideal customer is like, right down to how much they are likely to spend. This kind of information can be utilized by everyone working in your organization to help them better focus their efforts.
Collecting The Data
Collecting data isn't as difficult as it first may appear. Join forums and social media sites and you can learn things like what people are looking for and what problems they have. Surveys can yield general geographic data, interests, and some shopping habits. Sales records can yield information on what people are buying, how often, and how much the average sale brings in. There are many ways you can collect the data you need, many of them only requiring listening and taking notes. A reputable customer relationship management system (CRM) configured to meet your needs will provide a great place to collect and analyze the right information.
The Problem With Collecting Data Is...
Keeping track of all that data can become confusing. Even more confusing is collating the information and being able to cross-reference each of the different files to create a solid idea of your ideal customer. The information comes in from many different sources and is filed the same way. It may even have to be entered separately and manually. The manual entry may even include having to open several different files to update each with the same piece of information. Data input from a variety of disparate sources can be automated through custom software and integration.
Trying to take information from each source and cross-referencing with the other sources can require hiring someone to sit and do this as their main job. The problem is that this method can take weeks or even months to complete as well as an additional cost. During that time, you are losing money because your promotion efforts are not targeted at the right audience. What good is all that data if it takes months to correlate?
Solving Your Data Collating Issues
What you need is a piece of custom software that has the ability to take all of this data and analyze it according to your needs. It needs to be able to correlate all your information quickly and efficiently. Since your needs are based on the unique set of customers you want to target, it has to be software that:
- Works with your computer system
- Allows all the data to be centralized
- Allows easy input from employees
- Can be queried and produce reports to focus on different aspects of the data in order to target a particular group
Most CRM solutions will have generic reports, which may fit some of your needs but may not surface the exact information you are searching for. What you need is custom software or a reporting system that is created with the particular needs of you and your business in mind. By leveraging a custom created software solution to help achieve these results, you are more likely to get a swift, accurate representation, of your customer's buying habits.
The Benefits of Custom Created Software
Having custom created software and reporting / analytics will make designing your marketing campaigns so much easier and more productive.
- Enable you to discover your ideal customer based on all the information you have
- Increase your profits by allowing you to correctly target your potential customers
- Prevent you from throwing away your money on advertising that doesn't work
- Save you time by allowing one-time entries instead of having to record the same piece of information in several places
- Integrate seamlessly into your current computer system
The more you know about your customers and his or her buying habits, the more profitable your business will be. You can target the average customer or hone in on special portions of your customer database. Having custom created software that works with the data you need and works with it the way you need it to will save you time, money and frustration. You and your business are unique and your customers are unique. Your software should be able to surface the uniqueness of these customers.