“Hello, have you met your customer lately?”
Your customer is everything. Consider, for the purpose of this blog, that your customer is a close friend or associate. Now, do you know what they like, their age, their personal quirks, or whether they like to shop based on reviews? What is their income level? Education? The more you know, the more you can target to them and make them feel good. In return, they will like you, then, trust you, and, finally, buy from you. Even better, they will send their friends.
Would you prefer the restaurant that knows your table and your favorite wine, versus the one that SHOULD know your favorite table, and SHOULD know your favorite wine? After all, you go there often enough.
Are your customers changing and are you keeping up with those changes? That really is all that’s meant when we speak of “demographics,” a boring ancient term that describes the characteristics of your customer, like age, race, sex, economic status, level of education, income level, and employment. Trends in your customer population are really, really important, and it’s critical to your business to take advantage of these opportunities. For instance, college students are older, more diverse, and take longer to graduate than those 10 to 20 years ago.
Get what I mean?
Trends and life choices change over time, due to economic, cultural, or political circumstances. As the business owner, it’s important to be aware of these changes, adapt your marketing, and keep an out for the next demographic change.
Some key examples:
- The aging population, here and around the globe, will have a profound effect on businesses. As baby boomers age, retire, and spend less, they’re being replaced by the millennials (24-45) who have far different values and spending habits, i.e., using mobile devices for most of their activities.
- Asia, Europe, and the USA have an older population, while developing countries are largely much younger. The average age in Japan is 46, in England 40, and the USA 38. In contrast, Palestine is 18, Canada 25, and India 27.
- The 50 million new women in the labor force over the past decades are dramatically affecting change as they rise to leadership positions and achieve more opportunities.
Recommendations and Opportunities:
- Survey your customers with attractive incentives, i.e., really helpful tips, enewsletters, and giveaways. The internet is changing the playing field tremendously, but is also offering inexpensive ways to know your customer.
- Mobile is here…and we still don’t know the extent of how far into our lives and habits it will venture (kids today can do term papers on their phones, from internet research, to typing it, to submitting it to the teacher, using Siri and Wikipedia as research sources. Yikes!). Consider a mobile presence if you haven’t gone there yet. An easy “How am I doing?” to your customer on their phone can be easy way to stay in touch AND keep an eye on your market.
All I mean to say is that if demographics and particularly customer trends (whether large or small) are ignored, it will put any business in jeopardy. The takeaway from this: consistently evaluate relevant demographics/trends so you catch the small ones. Then adapt and keep your eyes on the horizon. Demographics can be one of the keys to your business success.
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