The importance of knowing your audience

Akber Khan
Latest posts by Akber Khan (see all)

A customer is the most important part of your business regardless of what industry you are in. without the customer, your business will not stay open for long. So, it is important to get an understanding of who your customer is and what motivated them to come to your business in the first place and what keeps them loyal to your business.

Over the years I have worked for a number of different clients all from different industries some B2C and some B2B, and one thing that surprises me the most is how many of those clients don’t know who their customer is. Some have an idea but most don’t.

I wanted to share a story of a retail client that I worked with that, with a little leg work, understood the different reasons why visitors, both new and returning clicked on their ads and just by changing their messaging improved their CTR.

The client is a retailer that has a very varied clientele they usually never changed their ad messaging as it was, in their eyes, ‘working well’.

But they were open to new ideas and wanted to us to give them new insight into their customer base. So, as a team, we set out to get them the answers they were looking for.

In today’s world of digital, Google does a pretty good job in telling us the age, gender and interests of our customer but we need to understand what made them click and this was something that Google can’t provide. The best way we could answer this question was simple to go ask them. We set out creating a survey for customers to answer. I know that this is not always possible for every business but you would be amazed and what you can find out by actually talking to a customer. As the customer base was quite large, we could find the answers we were looking for fairly quickly.

We randomly selected a group of people from varying backgrounds, ages and locations. We wanted to keep the survey short so it comprised of only 5 questions. These were around whether they shop online or visit the store? If this was the first time they had shopped from this store? What interests them the most i.e. deals, customer service, site usability? etc.

Once we gather enough information, we started looking for patterns and differences between new and returning customers. In conclusion, we found that the main reason why new visitors clicked on our ad compared to our competitor was the deal that the client had for that day. Now I’m sure your thinking, yeah but everyone loves a deal. That’s true however deals were not on the top of the list for returning visitors. For them, they were more interested in service they wanted to feel like they were getting a better service as they had been loyal to that shop.

WoW, these are some great insights but what can we do with that information. At the time Google had launched a new ad format called IF function ads. For those, outside of paid search, IF function ads allow you to display different messaging based on an audience list. In this case, we had new visitors vs returning visitors.

We set about creating new ad copy keeping in mind the information we obtained from the survey. we included deals for anyone that had not visited the site before and focussed our messaging on service for the returning visitors.

What was the result…?

Overall there was a 23% increase in the number of ad clicks and a 12% increase in conversions so a great result. This experiment has led to the client focussing on other areas of their business and now have a better understanding of who their customer is and what motivates them.

The above story was a success however there are examples where companies have failed despite spending the time to discover who their client is. The best example is Tesco and their US launch. Tesco had spent 2 years researching the American market even sending people over to stay with local families to find out their shopping habits. So, why did they fail? The truth is they didn’t listen to the research. Their choice of location was one of the mistakes they have done. In the UK Tesco opened small grocery stores near bus and train stations, these stores tended to be the most profitable. Unfortunately, in California, trains and subways are not used as much, as in the UK. Hence, they lost a huge part of their business.

Their strategy also included opening smaller than usual stores within walking distance of residential areas, however, most people in California tend to drive and do not walk that often.

Tesco would have been better of opening in metropolitan areas such as New York or Chicago as these cities are similar to London and that is where Tesco thrives. Instead, they opted to carry on expanding without changing their strategy or analysing why their first stores were unsuccessful.

In conclusion

The examples I have shared were straight forward and simple customers today are much more complex and require a lot more data points to truly get a good understanding of who they are and what you can do for them. This process can be lengthy if you don’t know what you are doing. If you don’t have the time you should consider teaming up with a business that has the experience you need to find out who your customer is. 

Rutland Capital Partners work with business owners that want to expand, improve or even sell. So, if you want to talk to us regarding your business please contact us.

The importance of knowing your audience
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The importance of knowing your audience
understanding your audience can help to improve your account significantly.