Success in business is hugely dependant on catering to what your customers want.
Whether a company's been established for over a century or just starting-up; the one thing that defines its success is its ability to listen in to it's target audience. There are numerous companies that were giants in their heyday, but died almost as soon as their customers wanted change. There's one screaming message from all these stories: Adapt to change- or die!
To be successful, a company needs to understand the needs of the customer: What they want, how they see themselves, how they want to see themselves, what value will their product/service add to their customer's lives, what exactly are they promising to change in their lives, etc.
While yesteryears mostly stuck to formal techniques like Voice of the Customer through face-to-face meeting or paper surveys; today's digital world offers immense possibilities of listening in to upcoming trends.
Here are some cool ways to know your customer in today's world:
Reviews on online stores: Online stores like Amazon and eBay thrive on customer feedback. Not only do you know what's working, but careful perusal of the comments can actually provide insights into what's missing. Millions of shoppers online can potentially tell you why they love the product, what they didn't like, what they wished they had, what they were disappointed with, etc. The competition is insane; but the insights can be amazing.
Social Media: Today, there is no way you can hope to establish a brand without being social media savvy. Social media spending alone was $24 Billion last year. The great thing is since it is way more transparent than ever before, its easy to know the pulse of your customer as well as your competitors.
Surveys: Surveys have always been an important way to ask your customer what they would like. Its just been made easier and wider with the deadly combination of software and social media.
Forums: Believe it or not, forums are still a very active and important way to not only know what people are seeking, but also actively engage in the conversation. For example, If it's sunglasses, the forum can have discussion threads on what kind of sunglasses do women like, what sunglasses are best for the beach, what do children find hep in school, what teens are looking for, what health hazards are people wary of, etc.
Of course, it's important to keep the forum active. It also helps to keep a separate forum thread running for each of your products/product lines.
Events: Events are a great way to foster team bonding, hire new talent, launch a new product or just send out a special message to the audience. They are also a great way to learn what the audience is expecting next.
About The Author:
Devishobha Chandramouli is the founder of Kidskintha- a site dedicated to creating happy children where you will get the latest research scoop on child development. Get your own copy of the '53 Timeless Hacks To Raising A Happy Kid' here.