Why do you need to know your customers?


And I mean not just to be aware they exist, but to actually know what your costumers have in common, what they care about, what they are interested in, what makes them engaged etc.

I happened to meet quite a few business owners or other decision makers that when asked about their target audience, answered something along the lines “oh, that’s pretty much everyone”. Yes, generally speaking everyone can buy your product, however especially in beverage or other FMCG businesses, you actually want to focus on those customers who are likely to do it constantly and even bring along some others.

So here are a few main reasons why you should not skip the “get to know your target audience” part:

1. You would optimize your marketing expenditure.

First things first, right? As obvious as this may sound, no one wants to spend money on things that do not work. However, here is a huge paradox – by targeting everyone (or no one in particular) you are actually just wasting your marketing budget. Some of the steps you are making might seem to work out, however you will never be able to optimize unless you know why you are doing one thing over the other and what effect that makes on your customers. The more targeted your approach is the more effective your steps are going to be both result and cost-wise.

2. You would achieve bigger engagement.

The best way to engage your audience is by speaking the same language they do and showing that you care about the very same causes they do care about.

I bet you’ve heard of advertising campaigns going viral, haven’t you? No one can really give the very specific recipe how to do it, however many would agree that getting to know your customers is the starting point. Coca Cola and Red Bull marketing campaigns, to name a few, are world famous examples of how well the customer knowledge can be used to encourage their engagement.

Let’s take Coca Cola, as an example. It is well known and consumed by masses all over the world, nevertheless the company uses completely different approaches to target different customers. Their campaigns are not only engaging to their target audience but as they make a story out of it and explain why they did it, the ideas they develop start to look awesome to other audiences too. Here’s one of the recent examples:

I am not a Latina but it still is a feel-good campaign that helps build up on my already positive attitude towards the company. So the campaign is focused on the target, however it does not mean it does not reach anyone out of the scope.

And yes, I am aware that Coca Cola has a huge marketing budget and lots of resources at hand, however the very principle of using customer knowledge in order to speak to them can be adapted anywhere. If done right, great results can be achieved even with way smaller budgets. That’s because people simply like to share awesome stuff but you have to know what’s awesome for them (and not necessarily for you).

3. It would help you gain a competitive advantage.

By understanding what makes your target customers choose one product over the other, what their preferences are, what lifestyle they practice and what pains they face along the way, you would be able to spot the opportunity for your own business. The better your product is suited to kill their pains, the bigger advantage you would have against your competition. And the better you know what your customers care about, the easier it will be to spot what you offer (or could offer) that your competitors don’t.

 4. It would improve your positioning and brand image.

This one is rather straight forward – when you know your customers’ needs and what they care about, you can present yourself and your products in the most relevant way. Since there are so many competitors in the beverage industry, you really want to make sure you occupy a certain position in the minds of your customers. The more emotionally engaged they become to your brand, the easier it will be to win them over. You cannot count on, that, if you make a great product, people will simply discover it by themselves. Believe me they won’t if you do not help them to – you are the one that needs to trigger the buzz.

5. It would help you create a better product and offer better service.

Yes, by knowing the tastes of your customers, feeling the pulse of the market and what is trending at the time, you are likely to make a product that is better suited for your customers than just developing the idea on your own.

I know how cool it all seems when you are excited about your own idea, however hold your horses and do some research. You do not want finding out that it’s only you that is excited about the product when it’s already on the shelves, do you? Knowing your customers you are likely to avoid this kind of mistake, since you would answer the key questions before the production has even taken place.

From our experience it is not that difficult to keep the core of the initial idea but overcome some of the major risks that you might face, starting with different tastes and calorie intake habits and finishing with some potential health risks (e.g. due to ingredients that consumers may be allergic to).

To sum it all up, knowledge about your audience directly impacts your marketing strategy. You can make weighted decisions only when you have the most important information at hand. Customer knowledge is that valuable piece of the puzzle that should not be avoided.

How to get to know your customers is yet another important question which I am about to cover in my next post. For the time being, I hope you have enjoyed reading. If you have comments or suggestions what we could write about next, drop us a line.

Author - Juste Akmenskyte

Justė Akmenskytė is a Partner Marketing Consultant in MyDrink Beverages. She is specializing in market-entry-related services and is helping business owners develop their marketing plans and strategies as well as improve their e-commerce performance.