Understanding your customers

Planit Agency
August 20, 2014

I don’t claim to be saying anything new here, but I’m always surprised by how many business leaders forget their customers when launching a new brand, product, or service. Business leaders can get so caught up in the race for survival that they miss golden opportunities because they have blinders on when it comes to understanding what their customers want. The days of marketers telling customers what to believe and whom to trust are long gone; today’s customers are savvy, and business leaders need to understand that the customer always has the first and last word when it comes to a brand and its offerings. Whether you’re a local pizza joint or a multinational heavy machinery manufacturer, it’s best to spend the time upfront understanding your customers before spending resources on what you believe is the next big thing. Following your gut might work some of the time, but listening to the customer works every time. The following points can help position your organization for success.

Understand Your Purpose

Tell the world why you exist. This is best defined from the customer’s point of view—describe the benefit or capability your customers will acquire as a result of interacting with you rather than simply describing your products and services.

Understand Your Customers

Customers can come in many shapes and sizes. They aren’t just the people who buy your product. They can also be stockholders, stakeholders, elected officials, or employees. Your customers have a voice and the power to make or break your operation. Actively listen to all of these voices and openly accept customer feedback. Meet customer expectations by adopting a “Customers-In” approach. Be outward focused rather than egocentric in order to create new products and services that delight customers no matter when, where, or how they interact with your brand.

Understand Your Output

Your work isn’t over even after a successful launch of a new brand, product, or service. Once you put down those celebratory beers, it’s important to continue evaluating the quality of what you bring to the marketplace and understand how it resonates with customers. Do they think you did a good job? Are they continuing to benefit from your product? Is your product still relevant, or are new alternatives pushing you out? All of these questions and many others need to be asked in order to continue to adapt to constantly changing markets.