The Who, What, When and the Why
To be good at marketing you need to be good at understanding and satisfying the most important needs of your customers in relation to your products or services. By understanding their most important needs you can tailor your product and service offering and shape your brand to meet their needs. This is a very important topic because your understanding of your customers needs should shape the whole of your approach to marketing and branding. For this reason I have split this topic into two parts. In this article I will focus on the ‘The Who, What, When and Why’ of customer needs analysis. In my next article we will focus on the ‘How’.
Truly understanding your customers and their most important needs can help you increase your sales conversion and sales volumes. In addition, your understanding of customer needs can help you add value and command significant price premiums such as in the case of the $7.00 potato (pictured) that I wrote about last year.
The Who is an easy one to answer. You need to complete the needs analysis process for your Primary Target Market segments at the very least. It also makes sense to complete the same process for your Secondary and Tertiary Target Markets.
If we are not clear on ‘who’ our customer are it is going to be difficult to pin point exactly ‘what’ their most important needs are.
Customer needs analysis is about getting good at understanding what is important to your customers in the context of the services and products that you offer.
Humans all spend money to satisfy some desire or need or to get some sort of task or job done or provide a solution to some sort of problem – a marketers job is to know and understand these needs
The following represent three good places to start:
- The commercial, or tangible needs (i.e. The Head needs)
- The personal, or relationship orientated needs (i.e. The Heart needs)
- The overall task, job or process that the customer needs to complete
Completing your customer needs analysis is not a once-off exercise. Your customers and their needs will change over time and in response to special events.
A special event may include a wide variety of factors including the launch of a new competitor, the introduction of new technology or even climate change.
The main message here is two fold:
- Firstly, that your customer needs analysis is something that is important to complete upfront as part of your strategic marketing planning process.
- Secondly, the effectiveness of your marketing will benefit greatly from continually updating your knowledge and understanding of your customer’s needs.
There are three reasons why I recommend that you complete a customer needs analysis if you have not done so already.
- Firstly, understanding the needs of your primary target markets will help you shape your whole brand positioning and personality so that your brand is instantly recognizable as a brand that meets your customers needs and will provide satisfaction for them.
- Secondly, a good understanding your customer’s needs will help you best define your product and service offering and features and benefits offered within your range.
- Thirdly, a deep understanding of your customer needs will help you optimize your sales conversion outcomes. By understanding their needs you can tailor the messages delivered by your sales staff, brochures, websites etc. to best meet their needs.
In my next article I will address ‘The How’ of how you complete the customer needs analysis process. In the meantime I suggest that you double-check that you have closed out on defining your Primary and Secondary Target Markets. My previous article Target Market Selection may assist you in this process.