You can’t market to strangers: What you need to really get to know your customers

Today’s marketers know that to succeed as a business, you have to know your market. But our ability to do so has become even more vital (and even more complicated) over the past year of shifting consumer behavior and economic circumstances. In this changing landscape, it is no longer enough to simply know how your customers interact with your business — you need to understand how your customers interact with the world as three-dimensional people in order to cater to and anticipate their evolving needs.

Before you can effectively implement strategies to get to know your customers on a deeper level, you must first understand the why so that you can clearly define your objectives and justify the cost of implementing new methods of market research.

WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE BETTER

Choosing the right audience for a particular campaign is one of the hardest tasks for any advertiser or marketer, and having a clear picture of who your audience is in the real world is not just key to making the right selection but targeting them successfully as well. To illustrate this point using an analogy, think about this problem as marketers being tasked with putting together a puzzle. Using the “usual techniques” to do so is like attempting to do so with only a fraction of the pieces and without the picture on top of the box. Market research surveys, historical sales data and even anecdotal evidence from employees who interact directly with customers daily constitute those available puzzle pieces. At one point, these pieces were enough to remain competitive, but in today’s increasingly connected and data-driven world, that’s no longer the case.

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