Customer. One of the Cs in my 4Cs framework.
Identifying your ideal customer, then tailoring your marketing to that customer, is a marketing fundamental. But that activity alone can be challenging. When you add to the mix two years of Covid, alongside behavioural shifts in society, understanding your customer hits a whole new level!
As businesses have pivoted, introduced new products or services, few have had the time to reflect and review their customer base. Are you still resonating with your existing customers? Do you have new customers that are quite different to your existing ones? Do you have more customer ‘groups’ or ‘segments’ than pre-Covid?
Also, if your business has been up and running for a few years, the chances of your ideal customer staying exactly the same are slim. It’s a good habit to try and review your ideal customer on a semi-regular basis – you never know what insight or opportunity you may discover!
Photo credit: Unsplash, March 2022.
1. Flexible working/working from home
Many people are now working flexibly, whether a hybrid option or fully working from home. The hours worked are changing too as people merge work and personal life into the same space/day with less emphasis on working 9-5. Pros and cons aside, what does that mean for marketing? Are the ‘best times’ for sending emails redundant? Should a sales call be made later in the evening? Do our customers want to control or lead when they get in touch with us to fit in with their new daily schedule? Just as big organisations are trying to navigate individual employee needs with business needs, how can you tailor your marketing to your ideal customers when their similarities, wants or needs may be starting to diverge?
2. Greater support for local, small businesses
The growth in support for local, small businesses during Covid was unprecedented. Initially out of necessity and laterally out of preference. There’s a greater appreciation for local, small businesses, especially those that went ‘above and beyond’ during Covid, which led to many small businesses gaining new, loyal customers. Personal service and relationship building are key to marketing and retaining these new customers. But there’s also a need to understand these new customers better and adapt marketing activity where necessary.
So, on the back of these shifts (or if it’s just been a while since you reviewed your ideal customer!) here are some top tips to help you.
Photo credit: Pexels, January 2021.
1. Do your research
This doesn’t need to be expensive or outsourced.
For existing customers, try a simple questionnaire or survey to ask key questions and check your existing understanding and perceptions are still correct. You can set one up (for free) on Google Forms or Survey Monkey. Use the survey link on your social media, within your newsletter or in a direct email. If you often see your customers face-to-face (e.g., if you’ve a retail store) you could print a few copies of the survey questions to ask customers onsite.
For new or potential customers, join some social media groups or networks related to your product/service (ideally under your personal profile). Both LinkedIn and Facebook have a search facility for this. Once you’ve joined the group then use the search button within the group to find out more. Try using some key words related to your product or service. If you’re not finding the answers or insight you need then you can ask questions, add a poll or a post that links to your survey (just make sure the group rules allow this - you may have to wait for a certain day).
2. Check what your customers think-feel-do
Having an understanding of what our ideal customers ‘think-feel-do’ is a good way of considering what insights and information you need to research.
Think – what does your ideal customer think about your business/product/service? Are they aware of it? What associations or perceptions do they have? Consider this at a market or sector level too e.g., what are their thoughts on luxury chocolate, financial services in general (if that’s your product/service)?
Feel – how do your ideal customers feel about your product or service? What problem can you solve? What transformation can you encourage? And how will they feel afterwards e.g., happy, less stressed, more time, confident etc.
Do – work out what pushes your ideal customer to take action. And what action do they take? Will they make an enquiry, consume your content or purchase? How quickly do they take action? Is there a pattern to where and when they take action? Are they good ambassadors who will leave reviews or give a testimonial?
If you’d like to define and develop your ideal customer, this is a topic I can cover in a strategy session with you. It's also part of my 1:1 coaching programme (marketing fundamentals). More details on these services and direct booking.