Who Are My Customers?
to tell me how many times a year you track changes in your
customer base: (0-1) (2-3) (4-5) (more than 5)
As an entrepreneur, you've probably had previous experience as an employee in the type of business you've opened. Based on that experience, you no doubt have a good idea of who your customers or clients are...but don't count on it!
When hunters wake up early in the morning, they know whether they're going to be looking for ducks or deer. If they're looking for ducks, they won't sit in a tree in a snowy forest, because they know that's not where or when you find ducks. If they're looking for deer, they won't go sit in a boat in flooded timber, because they know they could sit there all day and they wouldn't see one deer. Let's say our hunters have decided to hunt ducks. Now they have to decide what kind of ducks, because all ducks are not found in the same swamp - or even in the same state! You have to be just as specific. Is your dream customer a women? Great - but what kind of a woman? Is she 18 years old? 35? 65? You won't find them all reading the same publications, listening to the same music, or watching the same television stations. Get specific!
Your community can shift every time a substantial business opens or closes, housing developments or apartment complexes appear, universities close for vacation and start up again, with the addition or departure of competing businesses, and the natural aging of people who live there.
You must keep track of the comings and goings in your area that impact your business so you can react in a timely manner, with inventory and service changes, location choices, pricing, and advertising strategies.
How many times have you gone to a store check out and been asked for your zip code? The store is tracking where their customers are coming from. It tells them not only where to direct the lion's share of their advertising, in particular, print and direct mail, but it lets them know where the second and third largest groups of customers are coming from. That way they can spend their advertising dollars accordingly.
Keep a form at your register, like the one in my book, Advertising Without an Agency, and ask your customers for their zip codes. Write down the gender and estimate the age of each person making a purchase. It's important to do this for one or two weeks at a time, and do it at least twice a year. If your business is seasonal, do this at the beginning and end of each season.
Your customers can and will change on you. It may be a long, drawn out process that sneaks up on you, or it may fast enough to blindside you. If you're keeping track of your customers and your competitors, and heeding the changes in your community, you'll be ready to respond with changes in your inventory, services, and advertising strategies.
Questions about your customers? Send your question to me by email!
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