Customer Intelligence. Demographic Profiles. Market Research.
To the non-data friendly marketers, these are scary terms. However, they are also important pieces of your marketing plan, so be sure to include this information.
What is a demographic profile? Why do I need it?
First, let’s take a step back and ask the bigger question – who is your customer? Can you answer that question? Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you should be able to clearly identify your customer or end user. And this needs to be much more specific than “moms who like ice cream” or “teens who are interested in business”.
The dictionary tells us that a demographic profile is “a description of a particular type of customer, including their sex, age, income, etc. By developing a demographic profile of your best customers, you can target your marketing efforts more successfully.” Expanding on the “etc” of that statement, I would say it also includes geographic information, social class, marital/family status, ethnicity, education level, career, and social/religious affiliations. The more you can learn about your customers, the better you can communicate with them.
Gaining some insights into who your tribe is will help you in several ways:
- Improve communication with customers
- Refine your product / service
- Discover underutilized channels for communications and marketing
- Help you to create internal marketing goals
Starting with Market Research
It takes time and effort to conduct market research. Before you dive into research, gather the information you do already know about your customers. This will help you to understand the kinds of questions you need answered to create a clearer picture of your customer segments.
Market Research Tactics
If you have an established customer base, then delivering a survey or hosting a focus group is an easy place to start. Decide on a minimum number of people that you want to collect responses from (sample size) – you can base this on the population of your sales area, current customer base, or a demographic group (such as married women between 25 and 35).
After gathering all of the information, spend some time doing research. If you discover that one of your customer segments is men, age 40-42, unmarried, with a bachelor’s degree, living in lower Manhattan, high income earners, and are interested in European sports of all kinds; then you should dig deeper into each of these sub-categories to better understand the customer. Is this a group that commonly loves all sports or just soccer and rugby? Perhaps there is a subculture that you never knew about.
Client Intelligence is the End Result
Your aim with the research is to gain a fundamental understanding of your audience, so take the time to really understand who your tribe is and why they love your company. Do not neglect those who dislike your company completely either. You may be able to gain some insights from them as well.
Well collected an analyzed market research will provide you with the insights you need to improve your marketing plan, and hopefully you’ll also be able to reallocate budget dollars to better channels.