Knowing the customer personality before

“A buyer persona enables you create marketing content that is for someone and not everyone.” – Jeremy Victor

The quote describes why knowing the customer personality before marketing and selling is important. In fact, the buyer’s personality makes for a very vital part for companies to successfully create products and campaigns to promote those products. Unless a company knows the target audience, would it not be a waste of time to create something which might not appeal to them. But – is knowing the customer personality easy and can the teams ‘draw up’ exact personas before they begin to define a product and the marketing strategy? The approach to take would be to ask some pertinent questions regarding the customer base being targeted, the answers to which would form a base for the product and marketing decisions and help in knowing the customer personality beforehand.

– Demographic details and information on the prospective customers will provide a clearer picture of who you are choosing as customers. Questions regarding marital status, number of dependents and children, the household income, whether they have a business or working in a company, the kind of accommodation and location they live in, gender, age, religious preferences and the likes. Armed with this information companies would find it easier to begin knowing the customer and be able to put together products, strategies and marketing tactics that would be relevant and effective.

– Getting to understand the nature of their job, the company they work in and the hierarchical level they are at, is another way to knowing your customer and building the persona around the customer’s personal life. A customer that works in a large well-reputed company and is among the higher strata of the company would be better informed and know the intricacies and tactics of the industry and the kind of products and service they would need and expect would be different. A person working in the same company but at maybe a lower hierarchical level would need products to match their financial capabilities and lifestyle. Companies that take time in knowing the customer and make the effort to understand the customer’s career graphs and ambitions would find it easier to create for different levels and also put together more effective promotion and communication strategies. The prospect of success would be higher when these differences are kept in focus while putting together strategies and products.

– Obviously each customer’s typical day would be different and understanding other aspects of their life would bring together more pieces of this ‘jigsaw puzzle’. In knowing your customer it would benefit to know things like how often they dine out and where, what does the family do for fun, do they travel by public transport or have a car, where do they shop for fancy stuff and which stores do they prefer for daily goods. This additional information will serve to form an even better picture of your customer and enable your company to choose the products and marketing strategies sensibly and make them as pertinent as possible to the persona of the customer.

– The main aim of this exercise of knowing the customer is to ensure that the offerings are the best for them and that when they do come ‘on board’ your company would be able to continue providing them the highest level of customer service and also solve their problems. Understand what in daily life causes irritation and are major pain areas for your customers. For example if your company is an internet service provider and one of the prospective customers is already using the services of some company. Knowing the customer would help you determine why this customer could change the provider. For example – towards the end of the month, the connection could be getting slower or there could be a number of hiccups in the service during the month which the customer is unable to resolve but remains with the current provider for want of better. Target these pain areas and build a service package around alleviating them while bettering the areas that are working fine. Knowing the customer and their issues will allow you to fabricate offerings that will make the prospective customer sit-up and take notice.

– Knowing the customer also includes knowing what they consider to be ‘valuable’. This is not about monetary value but things they care about. Is the customer interested in eco-friendly products, are they interested in knowing about sustainable methods, do they have the time to browse through a number of options or will they prefer to be presented with a choice selection of 3-4 items. In the case of the internet service example, does the customer want to pay every month or rather receive a package where annual payment is possible and would they want to be ‘checked on’ every month by a customer service representative or would they prefer once every two months.

– In the current age of digitization and social media, almost everyone is depending on the internet and social media ‘conversations’ to get information. Which social media site are they most active on and what is the information they browse for on the internet? Which search engine do they prefer and which do they reject altogether? Knowing the customer via this data will help your company to be more actively present on these preferred channels and build a rapport and credibility via these among the customer base present there. Be present, be seen, remain useful – knowing the customer will teach you how and where.

– The kind of offerings and the needs of your customer together will lead to the prospective customer to becoming an actual customer. It is vital then for companies to know what the prospective buyer expects from the products – for example a model could be looking for waterproof makeup, while another customer could want makeup that is easy to wash off. Would the customer be interested in buying anything on-line on would they rather buy it at the store after checking and making sure it’s what they want? Knowing the customer will give your company the answers to these and other questions.

– Knowing the customer would also let you in on why the prospective customer desires to change products and companies from which they currently buy. Understanding the apprehensions and doubts a prospective customer may have, would help your company to strategize in order to allay those apprehensions and get them to trust in your products and offerings.

– Formulate a consistent yet customized message for the target customer base based on the persona identity you have been able to create. There could be many similar kinds of personas and it would benefit your company to identify and ‘reach’ out based on what information your company has been able to put together.

Identifying and knowing the customer before-hand helps your company to put together a ‘face’ based on the particular needs and expectations of each group identified. Your products and services in conjunction with the marketing strategy would be better positioned for success if all these factors are taken in to consideration. The methodology used would instantly appeal to, if not all, at least a major portion of the target customer base and help your company sell more, build better relationships and strengthen its position in the competitive market scenario.

Knowing your customer is not just about making more revenue, it is a paradigm shift from an internal company focused view to a ‘customer-centric’ view that looks closely at the specific needs, wants and expectations of the customer before an actual sale. This exercise must include all teams that are involved with dealing directly with the customer base. It would make it easier to formulate strategies, get buy-in and for interdepartmental teams to work together more effectively. Has your company made efforts towards knowing the customer? Know your customers to know benefits that are limitless and will reward your company substantially gradually but surely.

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