KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS
The billionaire owner of Equinox and SoulCycle strained customer relationships for both companies when his $100K+/plate fundraiser for Donald Trump became public knowledge. Social media protests, including #BoycottEquinox, gained traction while the SoulCycle CEO tried to win back customers by offering free “social justice” rides for causes hand-picked by instructors. Wise marketing executives everywhere could be heard admonishing, “Know your customers.”
On Friday, we explored this very topic with 100+/- marketing executives at Brand Innovators @ Advertising Week NYC. Below are 3 key takeaways from our conversation:
- Start with Your Customer. Brands benefit from having direct contact with the people who matter most to them. Find the best and most direct channels to reach the doctors or heads of house or heads of state or millennials that make up your target audience. Their candid feedback — through digital focus groups or quantitative research – will result in insights into what your customer and future customers think, feel, do and buy.
- When You Don’t Own Your Customers. It’s imperative to find alternatives to speak to your customer when your customer isn’t your own. Think about selling through third parties, including Amazon or Wal-Mart, or financial services giant Prudential Financial when it sells wellness solution in the workplace. Your company’s employees offer reasonable substitutes for the general population as they often cross age, nationality and income groups. But there are alternatives, like Toluna that can help you tap into your target audience.
- Be Agile. Nimbleness enables companies to quickly get products to market. Tap non-industry experts, results drivers, strategic thinkers and good listeners. Use technology that enables you to test and learn before going to market. Running projects across departments and swap resources in and out as needed. Build an organization that scales up and down.
Engage with your customers in as many ways as possible – social media, customer service calls, surveys and digital focus groups. Having that knowledge and turning it into actionable information can be the difference between business success and failure.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is provided for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed by the bloggers are strictly their own and do not necessarily represent those of Prudential Financial.