The Importance of Understanding Your Customer

If you have a business degree or have ever taken a marketing class you know that one of the things that is highly stressed is the importance of target marketing and segmenting your target.  I stress these very same ideals in every marketing class that I have ever taught.  But is target marketing and segmenting enough?  No it is not, you also need to understand your customer.  Targeting and segmenting is extremely important, but so is understanding your customer, these go hand in hand.  How can you market to someone who you do not understand?  In my opinion you really can’t.

Let’s take a look at someone who would purchase a 650I convertible BMW, these cars start at $93,000; what do you think is important to the person buying this car?  Gas mileage? Economical?  Probably not..  How about looking successful, feeling good about themselves, luxury, speed?   How about a KIA Soul starting at $14,400, what do you suppose is important to this buyer?  How about gas mileage, price, dependability? We have two very different types of people buying these two cars, they live in different worlds and we need to be familiar with those worlds, we need to understand what motivates a buyer, what is important to them, what matters most.

In order to deliver what your customer is seeking, you need to understand them, you need to know what is that they want; this is key to giving them good service.  Good marketing professionals know how to put themselves in their customers or potential customer’s shoes so to speak, how to think like them so that they can anticipate what the customer wants, what they need, what matters most to them.  Short of doing this, you cannot market to someone without knowing their needs and their wants.  So figure out who you want to market to and them become an expert on these people so that you can market to them in ways that they will understand, be able to speak their language; understanding your customer is paramount to success.

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