Understanding your target audience and customer base is the most important component in formulating effective marketing campaigns and communications. While understanding the value of your product to your prospects is the first step to increasing conversions, a lack of knowledge of your customers’ tendencies and pain points will sabotage your efforts.
Here are five common misconceptions marketers have about their customers, and some helpful suggestions for how marketers can align their efforts with the mind of the most important person in their business: the customer.
1. You = Your Customer
As much as we may want to believe this, it isn’t true. Many marketers and business owners fall into the trap of thinking that they know everything about their customers and how they behave. Don’t let personal opinions and preferences dictate the design and content of your website.
Re-align: Continuously interact with your customer find out who they are and what they want.
- Use email and social media to deliver surveys and feedback forms
- Place comment boxes on web pages
- Utilize analytics software (like Google Analytics) to understand what your customers are telling you with their behavior on your website
- Take advantage of web-based testing with services like UserTesting.com
2. The customers don’t know what they want
A 2012 report titled “Digital Evolution in B2B marketing” put out by CEB and Google revealed that, on average, customers progress nearly 60% of the way through the purchase decision-making process before engaging a sales rep.
Re-align: Recognize that today’s customer is educated and in most cases has already done a great deal of research before initiating the sales process.
3. More is better
Even though the consumer may be in the market for information, that doesn’t necessarily mean that more information is better. Ease of access to information and clarity of messaging is more important. According to Taylor and Francis Online, you only have about 0.05 seconds to make a good first impression on your website. Make it count.
According to a study by Google, users’ first impressions of websites are influenced by two design factors:
- Visual complexity: How complex is the visual design of the website
- Prototypicality: How representative a design looks for a certain category of websites
Re-align: Follow the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid) when it comes to your web design and content and you’ll have a better chance to keep your customer on your site (and convert).
4. My customer doesn’t use mobile devices
According to the annual State of the Internet report by Mary Meeker from KPCB, mobile usage continues to grow rapidly and is at 25% of Total Web Usage vs. 14% Year over Year. This trend is even more prominent in emerging markets. For example, in Asia mobile usage is more than 35% of total internet usage. Mobile data consumption is at an all-time high of 81%, with video content being consumed even more.
Re-align: Start preparing your mobile strategy NOW if you haven’t already.
5. Personalization is optional
This is true, but it’s no longer about just including the customer’s name in an email message. Personalization has become much more sophisticated over the past few years.
According to a study last year by MyBuys and the e-tailing group, customized messaging and promotions based on past shopping or buying experiences increases the likelihood of buyer engagement and corresponding sales.
Re-align: Understand that consumers are aware of online personalization and they tell us that they both value and expect it, as it makes it easier for them to find products that are most important to them.