Understanding your customers is one of the perquisites of business growth. Without actionable insight on who and why pays for your products and services, not only will it be significantly harder to connect with your audience in relevant ways, but sustaining your business altogether will almost impossible.
In a time when customers are spoilt for choice in almost every field, you simply cannot afford to be disconnected from your audience. Customers want high quality products and services, but even though you have the means to offer them those, you need insight in order to know what exactly you should develop.
No matter the size of your business, thorough audience research is key in growing your brand and boosting long term engagement.
Types of information you should know about your audience
We live in a data-driven world where researching your audience isn’t exactly a complicated process. But not all data is relevant and, most importantly, not all data is the same. Depending on the things you can learn from it, customer information can be split into two important categories.
- Customer demographic: this refers to the basic details of the people who buy your products or services: their age, gender, job position, marital status, city of residence.
- Customer psychographic: this information refers to what motivates your customers to work with you: their political or spiritual beliefs, attitudes and what drives them to buy from you.
Demographic and psychographic information can be obtained by a number of means, from the traditional surveys and questionnaires, to more modern alternatives, like focus groups and social media analytics. The last option is particularly powerful, as it delivers valuable insights on how customers engage with your posts.
How can audience research help you?
Nowadays, businesses have access to overwhelming amounts of data, which do require a specialised team to sort, interpret and organise them in actionable reports. But why is all this effort worth it and why should you invest time and money to find out who your customers are and what drives them? Well, a good explanation of why it’s important is that without relevant information, your business is wandering purposelessly in the dark and you can’t build sustainable long term growth strategies.
More specifically, these are the benefits you can enjoy by researching your business audience:
Define your audience for effective advertising
Even if you have an unlimited advertising budget, the campaign will never be effective if you do not clearly define the audience in advance. In order for an ad to hit the market, it has to be structured and articulated in such a way as to resonate with the demographics and psychographics of the target audience. It’s one thing to make an ad for teenagers to 20-somethings, and another to make an ad for 35+ working parents. Also, advertising strategies will also vary depending on the countries you target and their cultural background.
Understand your audience’s needs and behaviours
Demographics matter when promoting a product or service, but they are not the only thing that matter, because not all buying patterns are influenced by age, gender or social status. After all, everyone needs cleaning services, chocolate or TVs, not just a certain demographics. This is where customer needs and behaviours come in. Audience research can answer these questions for you:
- What influences your customers to buy your products?
- What are your customer’s interests and hobbies?
- What do people feel about your products and how do they perceive you as a brand?
- What channels of communication do your customers prefer?
- What kind of experience are your customers hoping to obtain by buying your products?
This way, not only will you be able to constantly improve your brand, but also stray grounded in reality, connected with your audience, and deliver products and services that actually cater to customers.
It’s easy to look at data as a massive collection of letters and numbers, but don’t forget that behind data there are actual people. They are your customers, the backbone of your business. They are people with families, hobbies, needs and interests. Taking the time to understand and empathise with them will help you stay relevant on the market and constantly develop solutions that people actually want and resonate with.
Gain valuable customer feedback
Sometimes, businesses hit a low point where they simply cannot find their place on the market anymore and things aren’t going too well. Of course, this can happen for reasons that have nothing to do with the customers, such as internal conflicts or a crashing economy, but, in many cases, their problems would be solved if they took the time to ask (and truly listen to!) customer feedback. The answer to why your products aren’t received so well can be in front of you, but you need to look at things from the customer’s perspective and take their opinions into account.
Drive long term engagement
Nowadays, so many businesses are disconnected from their audience that this has started to be perceived as the norm, but a healthy and sustainable client-provider relationship shouldn’t be like that. On the contrary, if you invest in audience research and understand what your customers need, you can create long term engagement and increase loyalty. With increasing competition in almost all fields, connecting with your audience and taking the time to look into their feedback is an excellent way to stand out from the crowd and become a big name in your industry.