In today’s world, you’d be hard pressed not to find the product you’re looking for on the internet. From websites like Amazon, to major retailers, to community marketplace pages, all it takes is a quick search on the web to locate the item you wish to buy. Although internet shopping is convenient, it has also become the downfall of many brick and mortars. From shopping for a new car to renting an apartment, most everything can be done online.
That’s why, in an oversaturated market, it is crucial for business owners to truly understand their customer base and establish basic trust through customer-centric marketing.
Forbes contributor Daniel Newman describes some of the benefits of this strategy: “Customer intelligence should become the focus. The better you know your customers, the better you can give them what they want. Greater levels of client understanding generally translate into unprecedented customer engagement.”
Taking a customer-centric approach can assist you in taking advantage of your competitive market and setting your own brand apart. The first step to understanding your base is by establishing their needs and clearly empathizing with them. Profile your market. Take time to go out in the community and ask your consumers about their concerns.
This approach can directly benefit the business owner as well. In fact, a study by Harvard Business Review found that the most empathetic companies have higher value and generate more earnings. Simply stated: Companies that take the time to understand their customers see a better bottom dollar.
Demonstrating an example of this very same customer-centric philosophy is Sam Mizrahi, a luxury condominium developer in Toronto. Mizrahi is keen on knowing exactly what the community wants before he and his team even break ground on a project.
“Before we step into considering any new development, we like to understand the community first and that includes getting a grasp on the emotional investment behind it. It’s about understanding exactly what drives people when deciding on purchasing a new home,” says Mizrahi.
Once you’ve established your market, you are now ready to target your niche. This can be done by tailoring your business or marketing plan to make sure you’re giving customers something truly unique and genuinely valuable.
Professor at Duke University, Dorie Clark, advises business owners to take two established categories, and bring them together to build a totally different type of product or service. She says to look at the partnerships that could help you stand out and make your consumers notice you.
In addition to providing something new and unique, you also have to set the bar in customer experience. In a saturated market, the educated consumer will have a clear set of expectations around the quality of the product offerings. As a business owner, you are responsible for exceeding their expectations.
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky describes this as “creating an 11-star experience for your customers.” To put it simply, business owners should allow themselves to dream big about the expansive possibilities available for upgrading each client’s interaction with the business. He says by opening your mind to options that might initially feel out of reach, you’d be surprised by the creative possibilities that appear right in front of you.
In an age where selling a product has become more competitive than ever before, it all comes down to knowing your customer, knowing your market and, most of all, knowing exactly what sets your business apart.