You may think your product or service is developed around a tight and accurate picture of your target audience. You know this audience; you know what they need, you know why they choose your product above all others, and you know they use it once they’ve brought it home. You also probably know how old they are, what they do for a living, and how your product helps them get through the challenges of the day.
At least, you knew these things when you first launched this product…five years ago. But markets shift, and consumers don’t always want, need, choose, or use a product for the reasons they say they do. To keep up with these marketplace evolutions and to keep track of why customers actually choose your product, instead why they think they do, keep the following tips in mind.
Keep Your Business Strategy Flexible
1. Get out into the field. In marketing circles, this is called ethnographic research. Watch your customers as they interact with your product in the real world. Observe the way they buy it, carry it, eat it, use it as a tool, clean it, or stack it on a shelf. Take notes. This can help you close the gap between how you think you’re meeting their needs and how (or if) you actually are.
2. There’s no such thing as too much feedback. And if your ego can handle it, negative feedback is often more useful and educational then positive feedback. Reward negative reviews with personal thanks. In fact, elicit them whenever possible. Encourage your customers, entice them, and even trick them into telling you the reasons your product falls short of perfection.
3. Invest in high quality CRM software. This can help you track subtle things like the number of seconds visitors spend on the webpages for each of your products. It can also help you figure out why a customer might visit your site, read about your product, consider a purchase, and then cancel the purchase before it’s complete. Why the change of heart? The more you know, the more you can prevent this. Turn visits into repeat visits into sales.
4. Turn your employees into ambassadors. Encourage employees to provide their honest feedback about your product, and to elicit feedback from customers and pass it on. Again, the more information you have, the more clearly you’ll see the gaps between your business approach and your customer’s expectations. Identify and resolve these mismatches as soon as they arise.
For staffing, marketing, and product development tips that can keep your approach both flexible and accurate, reach out the NC staffing and business management pros at PSU.