“I perfectly know my customers. I already know what they think and what they want!”
How many times have I heard this sentence, the last of which yesterday!
Of course, if you’ve been working in a field for a long period, you have learned to understand the tastes and preferences of your customers. You talk with them every day, directly or through your employees and colleagues, and you keep testing their interest through your products and services.
That’s fine… but try to think about this: does this mean you do not need to find new ways to better understand them?
I’ll make you an analogy: before they invented the satellite GPS navigators, we used to travel by car anyway, did not we? We knew the streets of our city and we were able to arrange a long distance trip without any problems… asking for directions or looking at a map in case we got lost.
However, when they invented satellite navigators, we have adopted them more than happily… because they allow us to move better, safer and saving a lot more time (and not fighting with out parter about the best way!).
So why not doing the same with our customers?
The fact that in the past companies survived only through the direct knowledge of their customers, does not mean that today we must refuse the most advanced new tools
Also because, while the roads change very slowly (though as you know, they also do change sometime!), today the preferences and the behavior of customers change at the speed of light.
It’s no longer like when people were always shopping in the same store and they used to be very affectionate to a brand, a salesman, etc.
Today the world is their store, and their favorite brand is the one that can thrill them, selling an emotion rather than a product.
It looks like a slogan but there’s more truth than it sounds: today we do not wear a shirt because we’re cold or because we have to cover.
Today we wear the t-shirt that makes us feel the emotion we want: happiness, pride, nostalgia and so on.
The same for the food we eat, for the cars we drive, for the computer and the smartphone we choose.
So, companies can no longer afford to base their customers’ knowledge on instinct and on what they knew in the past.
And I’m not even talking about launching polls or organizing focus groups! Today, fortunately, we have far more advanced, non-invasive and precise methods to get into our customers’ heads and understand what they think.
With the right tools, we can hear what people say when they do not think they are listened to, that is when they express themselves more freely.
In fact, people – and I bet you too! – are now accustomed to sharing their thoughts, photos and of course their emotions online.
I’ll give you a few examples to get to know each other better.
When a woman buys a pair of new shoes, she posts on Instagram to let all her friends know it: she writes how she feels, why she likes them, what brand they are, and so on.
Similarly, When a man goest to workout, to the gym or in the open air, he shares his result on social networks, telling where he is, how he the training went, and so on.
When a couple comes back from a trip, they tell their friends where they have been and they write reviews about the places they visited and the problems they had, through reviews sites, social networks, blogs, and so on.
“And the people who are not so social, who do not want to write anything?” You are probably wondering.
Well, it’s not necessary to be active to leave traces and useful information. Even the preferences expressed on social networks, such as the pages we “like” on Facebook, say so much about us, our interests, and our demographic characteristics.
But not only: when people have a doubt, what do they do? I bet you already guessed it… they look for it on Google, or on Youtube (the second search engine in the world!). Today we can understand what people are looking for and what their doubts are, even if they are not using social media, but if they use the Internet to solve their problems.
And if they do not find the answers to their questions (or if they are too lazy in the search), they’ll probably post it online: on Q&A websites, as a comment under a blog article, or as a thread in a forum.
Of course, you do not need to know everything: you need to know what helps you better understand your customers, based on what your business is and what your goals are.
You can decide to hear what people say about your products, or even to understand what your target segment is about, what their interests and problems are.
What do you need it for? Well, for everything I dare say!
You need it to plan a marketing campaign (and if you want to launch the perfect campaign!), to know which issues to address, what audience to target, and so on.
You need it to improve your products, discovering what you like and what not, what is working more than your competitors, what are people problems, and so on.
You need it to improve the customer experience in your stores and to give more weapons to your sales force, to find the channels best suited to reach your customers and to optimize your budget, and so on.
All companies need it, to a different extent: from the seaside hotel, to the local agro-food products, to the supermarket chain, to the fashion brand, to the international car manufacturer.
Really think about it like switching from traditional maps to satellite GPS: who would prefer to use a old-fashioned map when it’ possible to share the location via Whatsapp?
So, before planning the next campaign or launching the next product line, be sure to know what’s happening in your customers heads!
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And of course, if you have any question, ask it in the comments below!
Bye bye, see you to the next article!