Are You Taking Advantage of What You Already Know About Your Customers and Your Market?

I’m often surprised when I work with clients and companies to find that they aren’t taking advantage of the valuable information they have at their fingertips about their customers and their sales patterns.

Fact-gathering and research are two important steps in implementing any kind of communication campaign – internal and external. Yet, it’s a step that is all too often overlooked in the zeal to “do something—DO SOMETHING NOW!” But taking the time—just a little time!—to step back and look at some data can help direct the “do” into areas that have the most potential for success. Bigger impact—less investment (of time and money). What’s not to like about that?

So what kind of information do you have? A few things come to mind:

  • Historical purchase data. What are your sales levels—by product/service—over time? Graph the data to identify statistically significant trends. My dad did this in a rudimentary way many years ago for the do-nut shop/restaurant he ran, tracking activity so he could predict slow months/days/weather patterns, etc., that might impact business and would give him a clue into “how many do-nuts to fry.”
  • Shifts in buying patterns. Is one product taking off, while another one is declining? All products follow a sales cycle that the Boston Consulting Group documented in its “experience curve.” Tracking the sales cycles of your products can help you determine when it’s time to push or back off on promoting specific items.
  • Customer retention. How long does an average customer remain a customer (customer life cycle)? What is their value on an annual basis? This information can give you an indication of how much time/effort to put into attracting – and keeping – customers. Broken down even further, you can get an indication of which customers contribute the *most* value, which helps you know who to focus on. And speaking of focus…
  • Customer demographics. Where do your customers come from? Where do they live? How old are they? In my old “direct marketing days” we talked about this as “cloning” your customers—find out as much as you can about your current customers and build a profile and then, using that profile, go out to find customers who are “just like them.” Much more efficient than just attempting to target to the masses.
  • Where your customers live can also help you determine where to focus your communication activities. A “bricks and mortar” store, for instance, that draws 80 percent of its customers within a 15-mile radius of its store would be “wasting” money advertising in media designed to reach people outside of that “hot spot.”
  • “Lost” customers. Your customer retention data will give you an indication of whether your customers come once and never return—or if you’re suddenly seeing a decline in the number of customers you have. That gives you an opportunity to dig into why they may be leaving—and to do something to turn that trend around!
  • Online actions. Analytics packages like Google Analytics (free!) provide a wealth of information that if used appropriately can help you make adjustments to your web site, your shopping cart experience, your SEO efforts, etc., to attract more visitors and, most importantly, generate more sales.

That’s just a brief snapshot of all of the information that business owners and managers have at their fingertips—you are sitting on an “acre of diamonds,” just waiting to be mined. Take a look. You’ll likely be surprised at the wealth of information you have that can help direct your marketing and communication efforts more strategically—saving you time/money and making you money in the process.


About Us

Strategic Communications, LLC, works with B2B clients to help them achieve their goals through effective content marketing and management with both internal and external audiences. We work with clients to plan, create and publish high-quality, unique content. Whether on- or offline, or both, we’ll help you achieve desired results.

(Strategic Communications is certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise through the Wisconsin Department of Administration.)

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Recommended Reading:

21st Century Secrets to Effective PR

Managing Remote Staff

Direct Mail in the Digital Age

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

Best Practices in Influencer Marketing

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