Direct Selling: Define Your Customers
Surveys don’t have to be long; seven minutes is an eternity on the phone. What surveys must do is ask the right questions. And to highlight your strengths even more, put non-buyers and lapsed buyers into the survey mix along with “better” customers. This way you see how your best buyers perceive you compared to your older buyers and nonbuyers.
What Customers Buy
Square-inch analysis, or squinch analysis, sheds light on product performance. In an effort to understand customer behavior completely, you should enhance your profiles above with merchandise analysis. Asking questions like, “Do my best customers buy differently from my worst customers?” helps you address merchandise mix; price point; and creative issues in the catalog, on the Web site and in e-mail. It is at this stage that you’ve not only developed but implemented a better, more meaningful view of your customers.
Demographics alone are great for modeling, but if you want to paint the best picture possible of who your customers are, you need to move beyond age and gender to an understanding of what they believe and what they think about your company. Putting all of the pieces of the customer information puzzle together allows you to build more targeted and relevant creative, a more appealing merchandise mix and a more profitable contact strategy by contributing to an ironclad brand positioning. To define yourself, you first must define your customers.
Steve Trollinger is executive vice president of J. Schmid & Associates, Mission, Kan. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.