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Simon Sinek, a British/American author and motivational speaker, once said, “Those who know the customer the best, will win.” This has been proven time and again, across all markets. In a results-driven business world, it is easy to mistake knowing what you want from the customer with knowing and understanding the customer and their needs, though this should be the main goal for any marketing business. Here are a few suggestions to consider to better know your customers:

  1. Reverse the roles. Although it sounds cliché, put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Start with a few questions: How does the customer specifically connect with your company? It may be anything from phone calls to emails to meetings, etc. Next, what do they specifically want and need? You may want to do your own research for this so that you can enter the conversation as knowledgeable as possible. What are their needs, behaviors, and attributes? These should be key factors in the way you develop your marketing strategy. Also, attempt to access your phone system and your web page as a consumer. Is it efficiently navigable? Where are the road blocks?
  2. Gather data. You need somewhere to centralize your data in a way that will enable you to explore it anywhere between a broad-scale analysis, all the way down to side-by-side comparisons. For instance, identify your top and bottom 10% by frequency, volume, and revenue. What does your top ten look like? What are you doing differently with them than with your bottom 10%? What is your bottom ten missing? Could more be done on your end to better their business? Try to use this information to strengthen your approach to future campaigns.
  3. Create profiles for individual customers. Every customer has information available to the person who searches for it. Their purchasing habits, preferences, previous vendors, previous clients, and their previous and current business strategies all shape their “profile.” Ask for feedback from your clients to round out this profile. This may be a multi-stage process, as some customers can be harder to gather feedback from, but don’t let that discourage you. Make use of complementary media in doing so. This will guarantee an accurate and in-depth view of who your customer is, what they need, and, more importantly, what they want. Use this information to better target messaging in a way that is relevant and engaging to the customer.
  4. Be efficient. In any market, this is a must. The biggest complaint from any customer base is being left waiting. Be concise in your communication to avoid long email chains where key information can be lost or ignored. Even within your own agency, being efficient is essential to success. For instance, if you cannot get the proper material to your account person in a quick and orderly fashion, then they cannot get it to the client. See how it snowballs?
  5. Build personal relationships. Everyone wants to feel heard, in any aspect of life —and the business world is no different. Remembering someone’s name, bits of personal information dropped throughout various conversations, and details from your last correspondence all go miles with a client contact. Beyond that, reward them for being good customers, especially if they have been so for years. Whether it is holiday gifts, birthday presents, or just thank-you notes, these gestures will be remembered. Don’t forget, it is not only the customer you want to woo, it is their network as well.