News & Events
#004 – What makes your customer tick?
- 18th April 2017
- Posted by: Nicky
- Category: Episodes
As with our last podcast, we’re focusing on the customer and, shall we say, the more the more human side of marketing.
Yes, I agree. That leads us nicely into the theme of today’s podcast which is What Makes Your Customer Tick. It does underpin everything any business does. If we don’t know who are customers are, how do we know how to appeal to them?
And I suppose thinking about it, that’s the focus of The Marketing Menu it’s all about you, the listener.
Indeed, successful businesses know who their ideal customer is. They may even have created a buyer persona which is a semi-fictional representation of their ideal customer. This may have been created through market research, on their existing customers, or market research about potential customers.Download transcript
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So, what we’re looking at today then is how you go about creating a buyer persona, and why you should if you haven’t already done, is that right?
Yes, it is, and if you think about is it’s so important, isn’t it? Speaking the right language, otherwise there’s a danger that all that marketing budget we’ve spent on new marketing leaflets is just going over most people’s heads. Every communication needs to be consistent so the message is heard.
Yes, put like that I guess it’s a no brainer, but what I’d also add is, by taking the time to do this you can start to frame the way you talk to those people in a way that will make your message more persuasive.
Yes, but I think Nicky you’re talking more about a marketing term called tone of voice. Perhaps before we get onto that, and that could well be another subject for another podcast, we need to look at our typical client profile in a little more detail.
So, you could look at any manner of things, the simplistic like where the customer lives, their age, their work situations, buying patterns, and what motivates them and their aspirations. Once a business knows this type of information, they can be more cleverly targeted in their marketing communications because they know they will be pushing the right buttons and speaking the right language.
Yes, exactly. But to be clear, a business will probably need several different buyer personas for their different products and services so they can create messages that will appeal to each one.
So how do you go about creating a buyer persona, Liz?
We need to know what the customer’s goals and aspirations are, what’s important to them, what problems do they have, where do they go, or what do they do to solve their problems, how can we reach them and what media do they use?
We could start by looking through our existing customer database to find out customer trends or learn how customers found us in the first place.
That’s assuming of course we have collected that information in the first place! I suppose, it does highlight the importance of collecting this kind of data, doesn’t it?
Absolutely! We need to collect this information whenever we have contact with an existing or new customer. Talking to the sales team, who are on the front line, is essential in finding out more about the type of customers we have. If they’re not recording this information, they should be!
You could also interview either in person, one-to-one or hold a focus group, or by phone, to discover what they like about your product or service. You probably only need up to 5 people for this but the questions you need to ask are quite specific to gain as much information as possible.
So, listeners, if anybody would like to create their own buyer persons grab your copy here.
Ok Liz, so now we’ve created our buyer personas, what’s next?
Well, to be able to sell our products or services effectively and successfully, it helps to know how our customer actually makes their buying decision. So, a useful model to use here is called the 5 Stages of the consumer buying decision process. So, if you are familiar with our previous podcasts, these are a series of headings to help you create this document.
Stage 1 is Need Recognition. We need to recognise the needs of the customer as well as how those needs can be satisfied. So, for instance, if a person is cold and needs clothing, there is no point trying to persuade them to buy sunglasses! Using the customer persona that we talked about earlier, find out what your customer needs and what would trigger them into finding out more.
Then Stage 2 is the Information Search. This is where the customer actively searches out information about the product or service they are interested in. They find this information from a range of sources.
Where do you normally go to find out information about something you want to buy, Nicky?
Well, funnily enough, I recently needed a local builder so I put a post on Facebook asking for recommendations! I got loads of replies, all sadly different, but they were from people I trust so I do go a lot on word of mouth recommendations.
And I think a lot of people do that. So, as well as asking friends or family, we can get product information from adverts, the internet, visiting shops and getting ideas or by actually testing the product ourselves, on a free trial for example. And have you noticed that when you decide you want to buy something, you become more aware of the adverts that are already there about the product?
For sure, definitely.
So, Stage 3 is the Evaluation of Alternatives. Once the customer knows the key features of what it is they want to buy, they will, if they are wise, go and have a look for alternatives so they can evaluate the product based on maybe quality, price, features and satisfying power. I imagine you did that with the builder, didn’t you?
Yes, I did! And not only were the prices very varied but also how well people followed up on the visit afterwards, if at all, and also how knowledgeable people seemed to be. Eventually I suppose I based my decision on the 3 quotes and ended up going for the middle offer because I knew he could do the job in the right time frame but also because he showed actual real enthusiasm for the project. So, that’s what I used in this case.
Which leads us nicely to Stage 4 which is the Purchase Decision. After evaluating the alternatives, the customer then buys the product. However, there may still be many reasons why the customer even then postpones the decision to buy.
Do you mean like waiting for payday or not being totally convinced and therefore not buying at that time?
Amongst others, Yes! I know I’m dreadful at doing my research and then jumping online to see if I can get a better price direct, which can often be wasted energy admittedly. But what we as businesses need to do is find out the reasons and try to remove them, either by providing sufficient information to counter the customer’s reluctance, or by giving a guarantee about the return of the product if it isn’t satisfactory.
But that actually brings up a very important point. We need to know who we are talking to and that we are talking to the actual decision maker! So, we need to be really careful when creating the content for our advertising material to make sure it’s actually appealing to the right person.
That’s absolutely right. But it doesn’t end with the sale. Stage 5 is Post Purchase Behaviour. After buying the product or service, the customer will either be satisfied or dissatisfied. What you don’t want is for a customer to buy your product, not be satisfied and then go and tell other people about it. They do say that a satisfied customer tells 3 people but a dissatisfied one tells 11
I’d agree with that – you only need to look at TripAdvisor or Airbnb to prove that point!
Exactly! It’s essential that the customer is satisfied so that they will return and recommend you to others. If you have captured the customers email, this is an ideal opportunity for some good PR to kick in with an email thanking them for their custom and maybe to say you hope they are highly delighted with their product or were happy with your service. You could invite comments or even extend an offer on another product.
Thank you, Liz! I think this is a good time to remind listeners that if you are enjoying this Marketing Menu podcast, please do make sure you share and subscribe via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher or Blubrry when this item has finished. We are a new channel and we’d really like to get out there and help as many growing businesses as possible by having some impact.
So, just to recap, we’ve looked at creating a persona of who our ideal customer is and then what process that customer is going to go through when making a decision to buy. Next, I suppose it may be helpful to think about what influences people when they are preparing to buy.
Yes, and I think this can be simply broken down into 4 headings:
So, let’s look at the Social influences first. As we mentioned before, like Nicky with her builder, people ask other people from within their own personal circle. A second influence may be if they belonged to a club, association or business group where they may still be influenced by others. A third group could be those people who they aspire to be like, such as celebrities.
Do you mean like dressing with a particular fashion in mind or using products that are associated with a particular group?
Precisely! I guess a lot of young people would fall into this category if they follow a particular celebrity or sports star. They’d want to use the same products to feel more of an affinity with their hero. Whereas, some people may actively avoid buying the same type of product for fear of people thinking badly of them because of the negative association with that group.
That’s true because I certainly hear my teenagers refer to certain fashions quite negatively in this way. So, what about those people who are referred to as early adopters?
I’m glad you asked! These are the ones that try new products and services first – they will be the ones that are innovative and like to be at the forefront of new developments. Think of those that are always the first to get a new car model or new piece of technology, like the latest version of the iPhone. Marketers need to get to these people because they can be very influential, as we’ve already talked about how people like to share good news stories. Endorsements can be useful, although smaller businesses are unlikely to be able to access a celebrity endorsement, but an honest endorsement is still a very valuable tool.
I can think of a few examples! So, we’ve got like Davina McCall and L’Oréal hair products or Lenny Henry and Premier Inn. I guess because we feel like they’re like national treasures, we believe what they say?
Yes, that’s right, although it can be undermined if the celebrity is then involved in a scandal, I can think of a few examples certainly.
So, brands must be very careful. In recent years, bloggers have come into their own for testing and commenting on new products, so this is worth bearing in mind if any of our listeners feel that this is a way forward for them. So, I guess the point is to think about who our target market looks to when they’re making a decision to purchase as we need to influence this group as well.
Yes, and then I’d add as with any major marketing decision, obviously you’ve got Cultural Influences that must be taken into account. These range from language, traditions, diet, values, laws, religion. It is essential that you understand these elements if your target market is going to be affected. Now, you don’t need to be trading overseas to consider this – we in the UK are a multi-cultural society so we need to be mindful too.
I know! I mean, take the science of color for instance, if you are thinking of refreshing your branding. Here in the UK, brides wear white and we wear black at funerals. But in China, brides wear red and white is a colour for mourning.
That’s exactly what we’re talking about! And phrases too, don’t forget about those. We all know that in the UK pants mean underwear and in the USA it means trousers. Did you also know that General Motors discovered to their cost that when they called a new car model Nova, it meant ‘doesn’t go’ in Spanish!
That is not good!
No, doesn’t go! So now to the delicate area of Class. I suppose it’s important to know which class our customer identifies with and again make sure that we’re speaking the right language. Social class is measured as a combination of occupation, income, education and other bits.
I guess this is really important to know when promoting products too, because with adverts in particular, customers from different classes may read completely different magazines or newspapers? And this goes back to what we were saying about using the right language. There is no right or wrong here, there’s just right for your audience!
Absolutely! The same goes for the actual products. We have to take into account buying habits, disposable income, all those sorts of things. That’s why doing this research on our customer is so invaluable and saves a lot of wasted time trying to appeal to a market in a way they can’t possibly connect with.
What is it they say? Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?
We’re certainly different!
Well that’s where we have to consider individual differences. Men and women do buy differently and there is a large increase in men buying for themselves now due to the availability of online shopping. Again, this could be hugely influential on the type of marketing message we put out there. Is your product designed for men but more likely to be bought by their female partner? Which language are you going to choose. I recently worked through this with a client in the high-end audio world. We decided that the men bought on reputation, power and prestige whereas the lady just wanted something that was discreet and would fit into their home’s interior design. It’s certainly not meant to be derogatory, it’s simply a fact that the sales people had to keep in mind when talking to people about the variety of goods on offer. There’s a lot to this, isn’t there?
There certainly is but it is worth doing. We also have to, dare I say it, consider age and where they are in their lifecycle – are they single, young newly married, with children? They’re all highly influential points, people, on the reasons and motives on why a customer buys.
Finally, and briefly, as it’s quite complex are the Psychological influences. Basically, we need to consider how our customers perceive things like colours, which we referred to under Cultural. Green, for instance, makes us think something is fresh and natural. Red makes us think of warmth and passion.
I see where you’re going with this – there’s real psychology behind all this isn’t there. Perhaps we should point out that listeners can find out more about this by Googling colour psychology to help them with their decisions.
Good advice! Words too can conjure up certain feelings. So, Nicky, what do you think of if you read that a bubble bath is luxuriant?
Ummmm, that it would be lovely and bubbly, make my skin smooth and I’ll smell gorgeous! And that it’s maybe be a little more expensive but so worth it.
And that’s exactly how it works, you see?! It’s a simple example but wording is so important. We’ll look at content in more depth in a future podcast.
Wowzer, we’ve covered a lot today, Liz, in just 15 minutes, so thank you.
And thank you so much Nicky, this was great insight, well done, and thank you listeners for tuning in – we’re so glad you chose us amongst all the other podcasts and webinars out there. We very much hope that what we’ve shared today will give you some great ideas to put into practice.
Don’t forget guys, we do offer a free transcript of all of our podcasts on our website themarketingmenu.com so if you’re not listening on our website, do head over there to download your copy.
And of course, we’re here to tailor the content around your needs so if you’ve any questions please do get in touch. You can either get in touch via Twitter or by email at email@example.com but please most of all share our channel with others who you feel may benefit from tuning in.
Yes, please do that as we’re a new channel and we’d really like to make some impact in the British podcast community.
So, tune in again on Wednesday 3 May when we’re going to be discussing what?
Well I’m going to get my thinking hat on, Nicky, and talk about Networking and how to build trust and rapport. So, thanks everybody, this is a goodbye from me, Liz Gordon.
And me, Nicky Matthews, thank you, goodbye!
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