Consumer behavior should drive your business. Your life and your business depend on matching the goods and services you have with the consumers who want them. Many business failures stem from one of two major miscalculations:
- You target the wrong market for your goods and services.
- You produce the wrong goods and services for your target market.
In either situation, your business will fail. To create the value necessary for consumers, you must first understand how they behave, and how you can match your business practices to their behavior.
Consumer Behavior Defined
The way businesses, groups, and individuals act as they shop, buy, make use of, and dispose of goods, services, experiences, and intellectual property. Although the decisions consumers make, and their conduct throughout the sales cycle can impact their lives and society, most businesses should focus only on how to model their business to fit the behavior of their customers. When this happens, you will have the goods and services that your customers desire, delivered in ways that meet their needs.
Marketing: Developing a Customer-Centric Strategy
Without a marketing strategy, your business will lack direction, purpose, and relevance. Spend some time evaluating five marketing tasks or objects:
- Analyze your market. Define the consumers you want to reach, evaluate the condition of your market, study your competition, and identify your firm’s competitive advantage.
- Segment your market. Find out what types of products and services various elements of your market desire. Put different types of consumers who have common needs into groups, define each group, and then select the groups you want to serve.
- Write Down Your Strategy. Elements of an effective marketing effort include:
- Your product or service.
- The price of your product or service.
- How you will distribute your goods and services.
- Promotional methods.
- Customer service.
- Evaluate the customer’s decision-making process. Before you can sell, you must find out how consumers in your market segment think. Whether you use primary or secondary data, you must learn what makes your prospective customers realize they have a problem, how they search for solutions to their problem, how they compare the various alternative solutions they find, what features or attributes causes them to buy one product rather than another. Also, after customers buy something, how do they decide if they are satisfied with their purchase?
- Know your outcome. With a sale, what will your business achieve for your customer? What will a sale accomplish for your company? What effect will your operation have on society? When you define the outcomes you desire, compare them to the outcomes you achieve in practice to judge your performance.