Know Your Best Customer

Know Your Best Customer

James J. Hill CenterThis morning I gave a presentation at the venerable James J. Hill Center in downtown St. Paul. Beautiful place!  The Center has created a new business program based on a similar, quite successful program in London. My talk was one of a series of free lectures open to the public.

I am passionate that businesses understand and know their customers  really, really well. It’s not enough to be personal with your customers. These days you have to get intimate in order to find them and keep them. I’ve embedded the slideshare below, but here are the main points I hope my audience walked away with this morning.

  • Collect quantitative, qualitative and behavior information. If you’re a startup, you should already have researched or intuited most of this information.
  • Your target is not just age, gender, ethnicity and other demographics.  Even psychographics (lifestyle, values, etc.) are not enough. You need to understand how your best customer behaves, how they like to gain information and how they buy. You need a 360° representation of your best customer, or a collection of them. This is best done using a persona, which is an iconic representation of a collection of information. here’s a Persona Template from to help you noodle some ideas about your best customer. Sometimes demographics and psychographics can be the hardest information to collect. By knowing about behavior, you may not even need this information. 
  • Get a handle on your customer KPI’s. Marketing research has identified the most common key performance indicators for business. Start segmenting your customers based on the numbers as well. If you don’t have numbers yet, figure out now how you’re going to track them.
  • Don’t worry about expensive big data software. Many of the tools listed in the presentation take time, not money. Ask your administrative assistant to help you, or hire an inexpensive PA to help do some of these tasks. The main thing is to get into the habit of collecting data, even if you just create a short list of questions you ask your customers when you run into them. Above all, always ask how they heard about you. 
  • Find the common factors within your personas. This helps you choose the best channels, create the right messages and focus your social media and SEO efforts.

You can adjust your marketing tactics as you need to, in case your customer segmentation is a bit off at first. But in today’s cluttered messaging environment a bland message meant to reach everyone will just get lost.

Suggested Reading: 

5 Customer Satisfaction KPI’s – Survey Monkey Blog

What is a Customer Psychographic – Small Business Chron

How Consumer Behavior Influences an Organization – Small Business Chron

Tools for Learning About Your Customer – Woopra

Verizon Study – Small Biz Trends

Multi-Screen Marketing – Wiley Books (The Seven Things You Need to Know to Reach Your Customers across TVs, Computers, Tablets, and Mobile Phones)