The power of understanding your customer

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How much time are you spending understanding your customer?

For early-stage startups, speaking to your customers is critical. One of the big reasons startups fail is because the idea is bad, it's not something a large enough market wants (or no one wants), and a lot of the time this failure comes down to poor research or implementation. 

Spending time with your customers is incredibly valuable at every stage of your business, but at the beginning, it is crucial. Without research, you won't provide the product or service they need and you can wave goodbye to product market fit, let alone conversations with prospective investors or accelerators.

If you don't know your customer, then what the hell have you been doing?! 

Now, if you're smart and have been spending time with your customers, then aside from customer-driven value that will work for your business development and product, the other great gem is customer driven comms! 

Understanding your customers means you need to understand their habits, and one of the habits we all have in common is media consumption. Ask yourself and your team the following questions:

  • Where is your customer spending most of their time online?
  • What apps do they use the most?
  • What's their preferred social network?
  • How many social networks do they use?
  • Which media titles do they read most often and how do they read them?
  • What do they watch on TV?
  • Do they listen to the radio?
  • Are they podcast subscribers?
  • Do they purchase print publications at all?
  • Which influencers do they follow?

Spending time interviewing your customers and asking them questions about their media habits, is a must! 

With comms, we can hypothesise what the average Millennial or Baby-Boomer will use, and create a plan according to assumption. But when you're a small company, if you can investigate and find out more about your customer, then you can invest the time and energy into areas where you have more clarity on the likelihood of success. 

Customer interviews also mean you can test out your product, your key messages, your story and even ideas for news or social campaigns, to see whether it's the sort of thing they'd engage with. 

Find an incentive for your customers to get them involved --vouchers, discounts, profiling, case studies, freebies - get inventive! There's no right answer, but any indication that you're going down a marketing path with a chance of success is a big win for your early strategy. 

Remember: Customer-Driven Value = Customer Driven Comms

So whatever stage of your business, when you're getting feedback, try to think of your comms as well.

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* This post was originally published in our newsletter The Communications Workshop. Sign up to get more free tips about communications and marketing here!