As a business owner, you have the responsibility of always knowing who your customers are. Without this basic knowledge, you might as well be groping in the dark finding out what your customers are looking for and if you can truly provide what they need.
Having identified your target market , you need to research the characteristics of this particular buyer group. Guessing the mix of your customer base is not good enough. This will mess your data up, and of course, wrong data would always equate to wrong interventions or planning. Guesstimating is the last thing that we want to do when profiling customers.
You can do basic research such as surveys and questionnaires. These data gathering methods serve their purpose well for obtaining data from customers. Conducting research can be expensive though, but it’s not impossible to have one conducted with very minimal budget. You can treat customer feedback as your number one source of data.
Another source of data is done through research. Data is usually gathered from reliable and available sources like trade magazines, the local statistics office, Google, and libraries. You can use this secondary data to cross-validate your findings with the results of the initial data gathering.
Another key in going about your market profiling is determined by the customers of your business. Are you a business-to-consumer type, or a business-to-business type of organization? Knowing the difference produces more accurate data and research approaches clearer.
If you’re a business-to-consumer organization conducting customer research, ideally, you would need to gather the following data from all customers. The first type of data that you need are the demographics. Demographics concern customers’ ages, income ranges, gender, education, occupations, and religions. This pretty much will give you a snapshot from what group (social, cultural, religious) most of your customers come from.
Another data that’s need in doing research is getting geographic details from customers like the their specific location. You can also get geographic details like city size and climactic conditions from other sources like your local library.
One more type of data needed are the psycographic characteristics of your customers. These involve getting data on your customers’ personality types. You would like to know what personality types buy most of your products.
Another type of data that’s needed are your customers’ behavior patterns. It would be great if you can find out on what occasions, conditions, and when customers buy your products. Having customers answer why they choose to get your product on certain occasions and conditions will give you a preview of when you can expect customers and sales to pour in.
One of the most important data that you need in your research are the customers’ expected benefits of your product. You need to find out what factors affect customers’ decision to purchase. Are customers buying because of safety? Are they purchasing your products or similar products because of cost-effectiveness?
If you’re a business-to-business provider, most of the types of data mentioned above still apply. In conducting business profiling research though, you would need to consider two additional things. What are the customer types of your targeted business? Are their customers small business owners? Are they franchises or national chains?
Another important type of data that needs to be gathered from businesses are their industry types. Are the businesses you’re targeting retailers or wholesalers? What industry sectors are the businesses from?
What to do with your Findings
Once you have this data, there are different ways on how you can use these to enhance your products, decide on the prices of your goods, come up with promotions, and adapt distribution strategies.
An example is that you can use your benefits data to target your specific audience when it comes to marketing strategies. You can include the benefits that the majority of your customers mentioned in a certain marketing campaign.