45 percent of customers say they’re more likely to visit businesses that respond to their reviewsOnline Reviews Survey
Competing market pressures and ever-evolving consumer demands are forcing businesses to think differently about how to market their products and services.
Businesses of all sizes have embraced the use of data and analytics to better understand the forces that drive sales and engagement. Deeper, more faceted and reliable insights originating from larger samples and multiple sources have resulted in significant and unprecedented empowerment, allowing business organizations to fully grasp the who, what, and when that defines their customer base.
Having a full picture of the customer facilitates the creation of a buyer persona, equipping business organizations of all sizes to craft a data-driven, customer-centric marketing strategy.
Let’s take a closer look at how prioritizing the needs of the customer can aid in the creation of marketing and branding strategy conducive to sustainable growth.
Reduce Inventory Encumbrances
Advances in point-of-sale technology have made it possible for businesses of almost any size to affordably merge their transactional activity with their client management software (CMS).
This integration empowers businesses to maintain a real-time inventory and better understand customer preferences and demand patterns, as well as improve customer experience management efforts. Knowing what is moving, and how quickly, makes it possible for your business to have a lean inventory that is optimized to always have enough of your customers’ favorite products.
Optimized inventory reduces costs, facilitating budget re-allocation to areas of business that promise to generate incremental business or improve customer loyalty. Knowing what your customer buys, and how often, helps you maintain a fiscally responsible environment and manage company assets in a way that facilitates long-term growth.
Manage Staffing Models
You are doing a disservice to your organization if you are simply using D&A for report creation, without ever taking actionable steps to improve the way you do business.
With personnel taking a large slice of your overall operational budget, refining your staffing model to match cyclical demand will quickly begin to impact your bottom line by reducing staffing costs.
In addition to reducing staffing costs, knowing when you will have a peak on demand will allow you to staff in such a way that customers will feel valued and cared for, reducing costs associated with remedies and compensation. Finally, knowing how your customers interact with your business will empower you to shift resources to where they’re needed the most.
For example, if you run a hotel with several food and beverage venues, then there is no need to necessarily cut hours to maximize employee utilization. Instead, you can shift your resources to the venue that has the greatest demand, allowing for ’round-the-clock coverage, without too many staff transitions.
Trigger New Product Ideas
Data and analytics are not just about numbers anymore. Access to approximate string matching and other technologies that facilitate parsing text have empowered businesses to secure detail-rich data about customer preferences and industry trends.
If a business is committed to innovation, then data mining customer feedback on popular third-party review sites can provide companies with invaluable insights that can help identify business opportunities. When customers write online reviews, they speak about the products they loved, the products they hated, and often provide insights about the products they wish you had.
Make their wish your command, and shape your offerings to be customer-centric. By delivering what the customers love and want, business units gain loyalty and are better able to reach others from a similar buyer segment.
Optimize Price Strategy
Understanding how pricing affects customer engagements can help you refine your price strategy and maximize upward elasticity.
For example, as your business grows in popularity and you achieve a position of leadership on third-party review sites, you will find that you will have additional flexibility to charge more for your services. On the other side of the spectrum, well-analyzed consumer data will allow you to identify issues of value perception that may be impacting your reputation and levels of engagement.
Matching your customers with pricing structures that are aligned with how they perceive your business will impact margins and will trigger repeat engagements.
Refine Your Brand Message
All the technologies associated with data mining will never replace the complexity and intuitive abilities of the human mind. Spending time reading the feedback provided by your customers and getting to know them at a personal level will give you a better understanding of what drives them and what they are passionate about.
Knowledge of key motivators can help you refine or reinvent your brand to deliver a product that is in full alignment with the needs of your customers as well as their aspirational objectives.
Identify Competitive Threats
Getting to know your customer through analytics as well as face-to-face interactions can help you gauge their buying preferences and level of loyalty. You can also capture insights about competitors whose offerings threaten to steal market share from your customer base.
Knowing who has the potential to attract your customers will allow you to remain one step ahead of the game and come up with marketing and operational moves conducive to improved customer experience and increased customer loyalty.
Prioritize Capital Improvements
Capital improvements can be pricey, and they always come with a certain level of risk.
Before you point a good chunk of your budget to a capital improvement, make sure that you will get the most bang for your buck by investing in improving something that matters to your customers. An upgrade that is irrelevant to your customers will seldom bring a decent ROI. Study what matters most to your most loyal customers, and work on fixing those areas before you fix anything else
Focus on the Most Relevant Social and Review Sites
Reputation and social media management are essential to the long-term survival, sustainability, and lead generation of pretty much any business.
Centralized review and reputation management will help you understand where and when your customers are engaging in social media channels and popular review sites. This knowledge will allow you to properly allocate time and resources to the online channels most likely to help you gain more and better customers.
Spend time getting to know where your customers hang out, and make it a point to make your presence known by having a two-way dialogue via review responses and forum engagements, and broadcasting a high-quality branding message by ensuring your third-party review-site profiles are updated, accurate, marketable, and relevant.