But as the most seasoned of marketers can tell you, this can be much easier said than done. How to know your customer and how to know what your customers want have long been elusive questions in the marketing world — and often, just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, new developments force revisions to your perceived customer profiles.
Fortunately for modern brands and digital-age marketers, though, today’s advanced tools are shedding more light than ever on brands’ customers and exactly what drives them. Here, we’ll offer a brief introduction to a pair of the tools that we at TBA Outdoors have found to be particularly powerful: ShopFluency and customer surveys.
With a mission that’s well summarized by its tagline — “Know your customers. Grow your business.” — Georgia-based ShopFluency has devoted itself to helping brands efficiently and effectively enhance their own data to define their top-performing customer groups/customer personas.
More specifically, to harvest brands’ customer data, ShopFluency implements analytical tools via API integration, then enriches the collected data with real demographic information. The resulting data and insights, which brands can access easily using real-time online dashboards provided by ShopFluency, can deliver your brand fact-based customer profiles and clear definitions around its best customers, helping you target new customers more efficiently. Over time, the company’s proven, data-focused approach has consistently led its clients to a more informed business strategy, increased conversions, a higher ROI on marketing activities and a lower cost per acquisition.
By better informing your brand and its product strategy, ShopFluency’s data can provide a range of actionable insights — such as your best customers’ ages, gender, income level, education, marital status and more — that allow you to institute business-boosting tactics such as:
- Audience building — ShopFluency-provided data can guide efforts to gain new customers by helping identify which specific audiences are most likely to convert.
- Segmentation — The insights help you target your best potential customers by focusing on the 10-15% of the population that accounts for 30-40% of your sales.
- Lookalike audiences — The data provided by ShopFluency allows you to better target your marketing efforts toward consumers who share characteristics with your best and most profitable customers.
- Personalization — Having a better understanding of your customers enables stronger connection-building efforts and provides insights on what to sell each customer next.
- Product development — The insights ShopFluency provides can inform decisions regarding what new offerings will be most appealing to your best customers.
- Wholesale/retail expansion — You can leverage the info provided to nail down top targets for growth by understanding where your best customers (and customers like them) are.
At TBA Outdoors, we believe that ongoing customer surveys offer a great way to carry on a conversation with your customers, along with a valuable opportunity to garner the feedback needed to continually improve your brand’s products and customer experiences. As such, we perform frequent customer surveys for a number of our outdoor-industry clients, crafting questions meant to harvest valuable consumer information such as:
- Brand affinity
- Brand loyalty
- Net promoter score
- Product mix suggestions
- Motivations to buy
- Website UX
- Overall User experience
- Media Consumption
In an effort to boost brand success, we use the data gathered in the customer surveys to identify brand affinity and loyalty, target look-alike audiences, to help our clients better hone in on their brand messages, to determine if product issues exist, etc. The data helps us with not only top-level strategy, but also assists with tactical execution.
To better achieve your customer-survey goals, consider these seven simple tips for crafting effective surveys:
- Nail down your purpose up front — Defining clear objectives for your customer survey from the outset will help you craft more effective survey questions.
- Determine the best survey type for your goals — Common survey goals include getting product feedback, improving the customer experience, evaluating branding decisions and determining interest in new product areas — and sticking to a single area with each survey can help boost its effectiveness.
- Keep it short and simple — Consumers should be able to complete most surveys in five minutes or less, and should consist of 10 or fewer questions that directly address the survey’s predetermined goal. If they run much longer, you’ll likely lose consumers’ interest, resulting in significantly fewer survey completions.
- Keep your ratings options narrow — When conducting a survey that asks consumers to rate their products or experiences, use a rating scale with a narrow range of response choices. For example, opt for a rating scale of 1-5 rather than 1-10. This simplifies the survey-taking process for the consumer, and the survey results can still shine a clear light on your brands strengths and weaknesses.
- Include free-form fields — To enable novel responses from your customers — which can lead to critical insights about your brand regarding areas you may not have thought to inquire about — be sure to provide a space where survey-takers can provide unscripted responses with a free-form text field or two asking for further feedback. Sometime qualitative information can lead to the most impactful insights.
- Deliver your surveys in a timely manner — Surveys are more meaningful if consumers take them while their experience with your brand is fresh in their minds. Be sure to send your surveys to customers soon after their transaction is complete, and opt for a relatively short window for response acceptance.
- Don’t press too hard for responses — It’s helpful to remind consumers to take the surveys you send, but you don’t want to risk becoming a pest with overzealous response requests. Any number of response reminders beyond one or two can easily be seen as pressing too hard … and could lead to a negative impression of your brand.
Could your outdoor brand benefit from the guidance of a team of highly experienced marketing professionals who can help you better identify and understand your customers and exactly what motivates them? At TBA Outdoors, our fully integrated marketing firm firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists (and outdoors fanatics) who can cover email marketing, SEO, brand strategy, creative, social media, e-commerce, analytics, public relations and much more — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can also help you with the big-picture adjustments sometimes needed put your outdoor brand on a course to long-term success.
To get started with professional guidance ranging from a simple web-store analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost your outdoor brand’s overall performance and identity, contact us today.