In today’s competitive environment, it’s important to remember that the focus of any business is to meet the requirements of your target market, meaning the customers that make purchases from your business that generate revenue for a business. Without that focus, a business misses the point about why they exist. Revenue generation is the number one priority of any business. The challenge is to understand the interests of the target market of customers and deliver a value proposition that results in those customers buying from you and your business.
So, how do you better understand the interests and requirements of consumers?
The first and easiest thing to do is to understand your current customers that currently generate sales for your business. You know who those consumers are; they are walking into your store every day. If you are a distributor or manufacturer, they are placing orders through your website or customer service desks. If you are a creative professional that provides services to businesses, learn about the strategic goals of those clients. Observe the trends that are occurring in your own sales as a means of understanding what your customers are buying from you now. Engage your customers in a conversation; ask them about the current projects they are working on and their future projects, goals and interests that they are trying to achieve. It’s free market research information and it is exceptionally important to take advantage of this information.
The second group of customers that you need to understand are those potential customers that are not coming into your store, placing orders with your business or buying your services. An easy way to learn about their activities is to observe the activities of others that are in a similar business. Watch their advertising, marketing and promotion activities. Talk to those potential customers and businesses about why they buy from another source. Is it about product selection, brands, product quality, delivery time, customer service, order fill rates, credit terms or other variables that cause those potential customers to buy from your competitors? It may be an eye-opening conversation about why potential customers buy from someone else. It may also give you important insight into opportunities to grow your revenues by making some important changes in your business. Remember, it’s about meeting the requirements of customers, in addition to both current and potential customers.
Another logical source of information about the marketplace, your customers and consumers are from your suppliers. Many of them have research that they use to develop new products. Product trends are critical to their business; manufacturers are continuously looking at consumer demand and trends. Ask your suppliers about the trends that they are seeing in their product and service research and development activities. Your only expense is engaging those companies in a conversation. As part of that discussion, learn about the people in the business, their responsibilities and what they are trying to achieve in their work activities. The creative industry is very much about relationships and connecting with others in the industry. It may take you outside of your comfort zone; but, that’s okay as, you and your business will be better for it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t comment that a logical source of information about the creative industry is available through the Association For Creative Industries (AFCI). There is a large amount of information available on the AFCI website (creativeindustries.org) about the creative industry, interviews with industry professionals and a member database that can be used to learn, discover and connect with others in the industry. It’s all available as part of your membership in AFCI.
Understanding your customer base is critical to your business, and information is readily available through some creative engagement with those customers.