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How well do you know your customers – really? 

Here is a useful checklist of 13 facts you need to gather in order to know your customers as well as you should. As you go through it, make a note of information that is still lacking in your customer persona – and if you don’t have one, you can download a detailed workbook and template from C3Centricity HERE.

#1. Who is your customer?

OK, I’m starting off slowly, but do you know who your customers are? Their age, gender and location are the basics, but there’s a lot more you need to know about them. Check out12 things you need to know about your target customers on C3Centricity for more on what you need to know to be able to describe them in depth.

#2. What business are you in?

Although this refers more to the category than the customer, it is important to ensure you are looking at it through the eyes of your customers. Many organisations are working with industry definitions rather than customer ones. What about you? If you want to know your customers, you need to understand what category they think they are buying.

#3. Who are your major competitors?

Again another slow starter to show you know your customers. Here you want to make sure that you have correctly identified what market you are actually competing in as just mentioned, and who your main competitors are. It just might not be the ones you think!

Also, do you know as much about your competitors’ customers as you do about your own? Complete a SWOT to know exactly where you stand with them – although it’s probably best to wait until you have read the next ten points before actually doing this.

#4. What do they buy?

What and where do your customers buy your product should have been covered in point #1. (If it’s wasn’t, make a note to gather that information too.)

Now you should look at how much your customer spends on your product or service and how much they have available. How does what they spend compare with the amount they spend on your competitors? Is your share of category and wallet growing? If not, why not?

#5. What does your customer need?

I’m not speaking about what he says he needs, but what he really needs and perhaps doesn’t even know yet. What solution is he looking for? What would surprise and delight him?

#6. What do they think of your price?

Consider not just the price your customers pay, but also the cost to them of their actual purchase. Do they buy online with packing and shipping costs extra? Do they have to drive out-of-town or even further to be able to purchase? All of these add to the perceived cost of your brand.

#7. What do they think of your packaging?

Packaging does not just protect the product inside and make its on-shelf presence more impactful. It is a further medium for communications and also for showcasing your value and USP (unique selling point). Make sure you include everything the customer needs to know about your product.

#8. What do they think of your product?

Product testing is an often overlooked essential of concept development. Not just before launch, but over time as well. Annual measurement is essential, at the very least and preferably of your major competitors, to keep your finger on the market’s pulse.

#9. What do they think about your advertising?

This is another of the ongoing performance metrics you must follow, to ensure you know your customers. What amused or interested them in the past can become boring, even annoying, over time. Ensure you know when your campaign needs updating from their perspective, not just yours.

#10. What do they think about your online presence?

It’s not so much what they think here, but more about whether they even notice it. Unless you know your customers’ habits online, you are unlikely to be where and when they are ready to receive your messages. Instead of choosing and using just the most popular online websites – like everyone else – your work completing point #1 will indicate which platforms are the most visited by your customers.

#11. What do they think of your social media personality?

You can’t hide your personality on social media, nor delete what you have already shared. The words you choose for a Tweet, the ideas you share on FaceBook, the images you post on Pinterest, everything stays online – somewhere.

Treat your online discussions in the same way you would any other form of communication and use the same tone and spirit.

#12. Why do they buy?

I could have added many “why” questions here, but this is fundamentally the most important. If you know why people buy and how you are satisfying their needs, you are more likely to satisfy them.

#13. Why do you sell?

I’ve saved the best for last!

Why are you in the business you’re in? Are you looking to grow a product’s sales, increase distribution for your other products, make a different product more attractive (or a competitor’s less attractive), or are you just milking profits? All of these are valid reasons, but you need to be very clear on why, to know how to answer all the other questions.

So there’s my 13-point “Know your Customer” checklist to enable you to understand your customers well enough to succeed in your marketing and brand-building efforts.

I suggest you go back to the top, revisit each point, and answer them truthfully. By reviewing all 13, I am sure that your thoughts will have changed or at least been modified as a result of this new perspective.

And if you need a little more help you can buy our Persona Workbook or contact me about a Workshop covering all these questions – and more!