Short answer: Yes. Long answer: Your customer is everything. It doesn’t matter if you are B2B, or B2C, a product, a service, retail or wholesale. At the end of the day we all have customers, and they have seriously high expectations. Broadcasting your features and benefits is only going to get you so far. Today, consumers want to engage with brands they believe in, brands that stand for something, and brands that engage on an emotional level.
It is not possible for a brand to engage in this way without deep consumer insight. And it’s not possible to achieve this level of insight without conducting research. When you’re inside a business looking out, you have a very particular view of the world, your products, and your customers. You are biased, in a big way. And every day you are making assumptions about your customers’ needs based on this biased perspective.
We are in a hyper-competitive landscape where the barrier to entry of starting a business is lower than ever. For long-term success, businesses need to be built from a customer-centric perspective. And we aren’t just talking about branding and marketing, we are talking about finance, operations, HR, product development. Imagine if your customer was at the heart of every single decision you (and your team) make – how can this not have a positive impact on your business?
We always recommend commissioning rigorous research as part of any strategic brand work. It forms a key part of the positioning of the brand, which in terms influences not only how the brand is brought to life, but also every aspect of the business. It is an investment, but the good news is that this doesn’t need to be done very often – you may need to consider additional research if there has been a significant change in the target customer, the products or services, or the market. A significant change is often signified by a decrease in sales or market share.
There are other forms of customer research that can be carried out in a low-cost way and inserted into business processes to ensure a regular feedback loop. For example post-purchase surveys, or having a group of regular customers you ask for feedback on new products or campaigns. Apart from the benefit of the feedback, it’s a great way to ensure you have engaged customers spreading the word to friends and family.