When it comes to business, there’s really nothing more important than customers. Without them, a business won’t — read: can’t! — succeed. Not only do customers buy a company’s products (a necessity if it wants to be profitable), in today’s hyper-connected society, they also serve as powerful (even if unofficial) market influencers. Knowing who your customers are, as well as who they could be, opens up opportunities for you to reach more people, sell more products and maintain more authority within a market. In essence, customers serve as the foundation on which you build better decisions. Take a look at how you can analyze potential customers for a new offering and, thus, maximize your capacity for achievement:
What is a Customer Analysis?
Whether you are just starting out or have been operating for 20 years, all companies need routine customer analysis in order to be competitive. Customer analysis is the process of studying customers, including their buying habits, as well as their shared characteristics. It is an important component of good market research and should serve as a guide for all marketing activity. Insight into customer patterns of behavior and the traits that customers have in common helps businesses create products and services and practices that capitalize on the ideas and actions that are working and avoid the ones that aren’t (or probably won’t); it’s a critical part of product development, placement and support that helps companies bolster their resources in the most advantageous ways.
How to Do It
All research starts with a question. A customer analysis starts with six:
First and foremost, you need to identify the people who are buying your product/service. What are their ages, their jobs, their incomes? Are they male or female? What is their level of education? Identifying basic customer characteristics can help you develop a better buyer persona.
Find out what people like. What appeals to them? How do they spend their time? What do they need to make their lives easier/better/more fun/etc.? Understanding the type of products and services that customers and potential customers want can help you develop a better product.
Determine when people seek your products or services. Do they make a purchase during a certain time or year? Are their purchases spontaneous or routine? Do they notice your ads in magazines, online or on the television? Do they pay more attention during their morning commutes or lunchtimes or evenings? Knowing when people buy from you and when they notice your marketing can help you develop a better product distribution and marketing schedule.
Establish where your current and potential customers live and work. Determining their location can help you develop a better way of getting products to the right destination in a timely fashion.
Try to find out why people buy from you. What are their motivations? Is there a reason they buy (or not) from you and not your competitor? Verifying the reasons someone makes a purchase can help you devise better buyer incentives.
And finally, consider how customers buy from you. Do they shop in stores or online or over the phone? Pinpointing the way most buyers reach you can help you develop better buying opportunities for everyone.
Of course, there are many possible ways to get the answers to these questions. As with any market research project, you can use a variety of qualitative and/or quantitative tools. There’s the ubiquitous customer survey, but there’s also a slew of other options, such as ethnographic studies, web analytics and competitor case studies. The methodology isn’t important so long as it has the capacity to yield accurate and timely results.
Want to Learn More?
Companies need good information about their established and potential customers if they want to maintain, and especially if they want to grow, their business opportunities. And the only way to garner actionable insight is to conduct solid market research. Our team here at Communications for Research (CFR) has over 20 years experience crafting studies that shed light on the data that matters. Contact us to learn more about creating an accurate buyer persona with an effective customer analysis.