Research Spotlight: Campus Sonar’s Study Into Online Benchmarks for Higher Education Institutions
By Gemma JoyceFeb 15
Published November 24th 2016
The purpose of undertaking customer analysis as part of a business plan is to examine the consumers most likely to purchase your product or service in-depth. Brands can establish different groups of customers and the needs of those customers. By understanding what motivates them to make a purchase, brands can build their business around providing solutions to those needs.
Customer analysis should move through three different stages.
You can learn more about your customers in a variety of ways, and a mix of research methods will give you the most accurate results. It is best to gather as much information as possible, and to not fall into thinking details are irrelevant. Details like age, gender, location, demographics and psychographics are all important, but so are their interests, other brands they like, publications they read and so on.
Talking to them and running a survey will be the best way of hearing about them in their own words, although that does come with biases. Reduce this by complementing that research with sales data, CRM data, and speaking to customer-facing employees. Once you have identified these groups, social data can elaborate your understanding by providing a more holistic view of the groups.
It’s also worth considering at this stage if the buyer and user are the same person. In a B2B setting, the buyer might hold budget responsibility but not actually use the service/software/product. In a B2C setting, there are several situations when a buyer might not be the user; a toy water pistol or a diamond ring are unlikely to be used by the purchaser.
You cannot undertake an accurate customer analysis without segmenting your audience into groups whose members are homogenous while being distinct from other groups. Your segmentation criteria should be:
Take your data, your segmentation criteria, some educated guesswork, and develop some buyer personas. It helps to have personas so you can visualize a human rather than aiming for an abstract idea.
Elements to include in a buyer persona include:
The next step in customer analysis is to get a good idea of what the customer’s needs are. By understanding their needs, several departments can gear their output towards answering these questions, rather than taking an “If you build it, they will come” approach.
There are numerous ways to do discover what your customers’ pain points are.
Once you’ve done your research and outlined your different customer groups and their needs, you should connect the dots to your brand and identify how you meet those needs. This section of customer analysis should just be a matter of discussing and brainstorming with internal partners.
Solution based answers should come out of this process. Rather than saying, “we have these features”, you should be focusing on how those features deliver solutions to the problems faced by your customers and prospects.
Solving the problems that customers face on a daily basis will resonate with them much better than shouting about a shiny new feature. Focus on how you can make their lives easier and more enjoyable.
This will obviously be reflected in marketing, but these insights can help sales and product development as well, tightening your focus to better match your customer’s needs.