You need to sow before you can reap…

SowingFor today’s small business “the more you know, the more you’ll grow.”

 

Market research, focus groups, and product testing are great tools to determine profitable markets for your products or services in an expansion mode for growth. These tools don’t come cheap. For this reason, many small businesses disregard them when they look for ways to grow their business.

Here’s a way to get the know

If you have an analytical left brain person on your marketing team, this is usually the right person for the challenge, if you can get that person away from their data. Here are my recommended easy five steps that I use in my own marketing teaching programs.

The first step is to gather more information about your customers, especially their buying patterns. Customer knowledge is the key to a successful customer-centric marketing strategy. All efforts to achieve product or service differentiation are futile until you classify your target market(s). Stop by our website to read a few ideas on building customer profiles and how to drill down further to learn more about your customer buying decisions.

Moving on to the second step it’s all about differentiating your customers, by segmenting your customers into smaller groups. Why you ask? Because your entire target market may not be buying the same products or services. If they are, you should try to learn what the reason a customer uses in their buying decision. Here is how to grab a simple flow chart report you can use to help start the brain juices flowing.

The third step is to learn from your customers by interacting with them. Learn what they do—and don’t—like about your product or service. Listen carefully to what they are saying. (What they don’t say may be just as important.) Use short surveys, something to complete in less than 2 minutes works well. Brevity is the key so get an answer quickly. Give the reader an incentive such as a chance to win something of value, free. Use other communication channels such as email, social media and yes, the telephone to gather more responses.

The fourth step is to customize your product or service based on customer needs. Use what you have learned from your customers’ wants and values to refine what your business offers. A customer-centric marketing program helps to build relationships. Get to know your customers, and let them know you, by developing relationships with the individuals who buy what you’re selling. Sharing the results of the survey with your customers is another great business relationship tool.

The fifth and final step is to ramp up your customer service. Even if your customer service was praised in the past, it can always be better. The markets and customers are not static. Always ask your customer after they buy, what can we do better? Something as simple as free shipping helps build solid customer relationships. The time and effort you invest will reap amazing personal and professional rewards. As costs and competition continue to increase, each and every marketing effort gains importance for meeting your goals.

Current marketing trends are leading marketers toward more precise targeting using bigger and better data. The old salesperson’s adage, “You have to know the territory,” is even a good rule to work by today. The better you know your customers, the better you can serve them, provide a better product and when it’s appropriate to communicate with them.

Thanks for reading and please share with others.

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Everything marketing starts and ends with your customers… cater to them, listen to them and react to them. The results will amaze you.



© 2014 by the Marketing Communications Group, Inc. No part of this publication may be stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or reproduced in any way, including but not limited to digital copying and printing without the prior agreement and written permission of the publisher. Photographs are purchased from such companies as I-Stock, Solid Stock Art, Windows Clip Art, DepositPhotos, HubSpot or John Deuerling.

 

 

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About MarketingDoc 395 Articles
30+ years in marketing. 30+ years as a small business owner. Love music, photography, gardening and just about anything outdoors!

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