The Key to Finding Customers – A Deep Understanding of what makes them tick!

Portrait of a woman using her laptopSuccessful small businesses continuously seek feedback and a deep understanding of what makes their customer tick. This helps them anticipate evolving customer needs and wants to help them fine tune their product and services offerings.

Market Intelligence is an activity that all businesses, whatever their size, should engage in to answer the questions of “who, what, how much” your customers buy, “when, where” and, what is happening in your market?

At a fundamental level gathering Market Intelligence is as simple as talking to your customers, asking them about themselves, what they like, their issues or problems in their business; and storing that information. Then to be used to inform product or service development decisions and marketing campaigns; identifying trends and preparing your business for whatever the future brings.

No customer is wholly satisfied with their situation, because if they were satisfied, nothing would ever change. Insecurities cause dissatisfaction which then motivates us to pursue actions to change the status quo. If you want to write a marketing message that resonates deeply with your customer, you have to tackle their dissatisfactions as well as their wants.

Overwhelmingly, what people are worrying about is finding the right customers? And it helps to know what they’re willing to do to resolve this.

Use this approach to build a clearer profile of your ideal customer:

  • What price are they willing to pay?
  • Are they willing to shop around or make an immediate purchase?
  • How desperate are they?
  • Do they need a solution immediately or over time?
  • How much do they want to work with you compared to another business?

Customers sometimes have different needs and therefore are attracted to different offers. In creating your USP or Value Proposition, you need to satisfy the following:

  • be distinctly superior to other offers available,
  • be highly valued by a sufficiently large customer market,
  • it’s possible to communicate it in a simple and impactful way,
  • is not easily copied by your competitors,
  • that the target customers will be capable and willing to pay,
  • that you will achieve additional profit margin as a result of being different.

You cannot position yourself as the preferred solution if you have not deeply understood your customers needs or frustrations, nor can you build rapport without being absolutely authentic. What are their frustrations and how could you reduce or eliminate them?

With the answers to these questions, you can create marketing plans that have a balance of strategies for attracting new customers as well as retaining existing ones. You will know what areas you need to work on and what to constantly keep on top of to avoid losing customers.

Evolving and tailoring your business marketing message and offer for your ideal customer builds trust, and trust creates raving fans and advocates. Customer advocates will promote your business to potential customers; the very best way to find more customers.

When was the last time you asked your customers how they feel about your products or services?

About the author:  Teresa Bassham is the boss lady of Zenworkz Authentic Marketing and educates businesses to think, create, engage and optimise their marketing effort.  She coaches customers in strategies for traditional and online marketing; and implementation.  If you would like free how-to-do-it-yourself marketing resources or to subscribe to free e-news about all things marketing, please visit the website:

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Debunking Marketing Research Myths

Teresa BasshamThere are two myths that need to be debunked about Marketing Research: It’s expensive and it takes a long time.

Not today – The first phase of any professional market research is desk research – this is something anyone can do using the internet. For DIY researchers, the internet has two important sources of information:

  1. The websites which companies, organisations and individuals have created to promote or communicate their products, services or views;
  2. User groups that are made up of people who have an interest in a particular industry or subject.

There are tips that make searching the www easier and more targeted.  I use Google Advanced Search – you can easily look at all their tips yourself but here’s a few that work well for internet market research:

  1. By putting double quotes (“”) around a set of words, you are telling Google to consider the exact words in that exact order without any change.
  2. The *, or wildcard, can be very powerful. If you include * within a query, it tells Google to try to treat the * as a placeholder for any unknown term(s) and then find the best matches.
  3. Use the file type “PDF” because most research reports are large and are protected.
  4. Set a date range e.g. not older then 12months – and then you get the latest reports, which is important in this fast moving market environment.
  5. Finally, if you can’t find an industry report, pick and industry that services the same customer base and you will at least have some useful data about your customer segment.

What your desk research won’t tell you is “WHY they buy from you”?  You can simply talk to your best (or worst) customers to ask them. My suggestion is that you draft a list of questions and ask the same questions of every customer, to provide better comparisons, but also to validate the data. Then you need to capture this information, if you have only a few customers – not so hard – but when you have hundreds – you should look at other survey methods.

There are many free online survey cloud options, ranging from Survey Monkey, SurveyGizmo to QuestionPro.  The free service has restrictions but if you are just starting out, you will not need anything too sophisticated.  The most important action is to start understanding your customer and market.

Tip 1: Look for a free package that provides a link to the survey and that way you can post your survey link on your social networks and email out to your customer or subscriber base – ensuring that you are getting feedback from connections that know you and your products and/or services.

Tip 2: If you want to improve survey response rates, offer an incentive prize that will be appealing to your audience!

It’s so important, I am going to say it again: The most important action you can take in your business, is to start understanding your customer and market.  Good luck, and let me know how you are progressing?

Zenworkz Authentic Marketing has our own online survey tool, which is very sophisticated survey software.  Thats why I like to help my customers get clear about what information they need to know; create a survey specific to their needs; provide all the administration of the survey emails or social media posting; and producing the reports – it’s not free but it is very cost, time and results effective.  If you would like an obligation free quote – please email me:

About the author:  Teresa Bassham is the owner of Zenworkz Authentic Marketing and educates businesses to think, create, engage and optimise their marketing effort.  She coaches customers in Marketing Strategy, both off and online; and implementation.  If you would like some free how-to marketing resources, please check her website:

For daily marketing tips and references, connect on Facebook:

How to do your own customer or market research

With almost everyone now connected to the internet, it is possible for small and medium businesses to conduct their own preliminary desk market research.

Desk research is a term used by market researchers to mean literally, research conducted from your desk, using your computer and the internet; and is information that costs next to nothing except for time and perhaps square eyes.  Importantly it can easily be carried out by the do-it-yourself market researcher.

Gaining this valuable insight into your potential customers needs, and generally researching the marketplace in which your business operates ensures that your marketing goals; identifying ideal customer profiles and setting your price and product/service mix; through to deciding your promotional activities, will result in attracting the most customers possible.

To help you do your own online customer or market research, below are some tips for using Google advanced search techniques, to make your research more fruitful:

Use the exact word match

A strategy of searching with a relevant set of words would be the first step to locate the information that you seek.  When typing in the search word string, use double quotations to enclose the phrase so that for example, “wellness industry customer demographics” will only deliver references to those four words in that combination.  Without the quotation marks references, most search engines look for each of the four words separately and would deliver hundreds of thousands of irrelevant references to wellness, industry, customer, and to demographics.

Use wildcard* to control the proximity of results

You can use the wildcard (asterisk) to let Google replace it with any word that would normally fit in this phrase. For example: wellness industry customer demographics* returns results such as wellness industry trends; the future of health and wellness; and a health and wellness sample marketing plan.

Use synonym character ~ to broaden the search topic

If you are not sure exactly how broad you want to search for information, but say you think you need anything related to purchasing decisions for a target group of customers. In this case you will need to use ~ character to force Google to include more synonyms in the search results.  For example using (~wellness customer purchasing decisions) will return any related content, ranging from “influencing decisions” to “consumer buying journey”.

Filter out repetitious domains

Sometimes no matter what you search for within one topic or niche, you get results from the same domains (for example, the most popular e-news or blog sites). To filter out those domains and force Google to find more detailed and relevant sources, use [“wellness customer purchasing decisions” site:] for example.

Broaden your vocabulary

Researchers and report writers may use different words to describe useful customer research content. For example, the topic of customer purchasing decisions can be framed as: buyer decision process; consumer purchase decisions or customers buying process or buying behaviour, for example.

Of course, it is impossible to cover each and every possible choice of words that people may use to describe the information, but playing with various words and phrases will let you see a much broader picture.  To find more of these possible words to search on, all you need to do is to browse and notice all the different variations.

Other useful advanced search options:

Don’t forget the advanced search commands available in Google.  A lot of research or white papers are published as PDF’s;  but you can also search by type of file and find particular file types such as PowerPoint (.ppt), Word (.doc), Excel (.xls); PDF (.pdf) and more.  Look for file type drop box on the Google Advanced Search form.  For more detailed information – search Google Advanced Search Tips.  I would be very interested to know what tips you have learnt and what works best for you?

About: Zenworkz Authentic Marketing has provided these search tips to help you to conduct your own diy customer and market research. However, if you need assistance with any aspect of customer or market research, Zenworkz Online Research provides customised and standard surveys that can capture the data you need to inform decisions about your business. Using the internet and social media, Zenworkz Online Research is: cost and time effective, reduces expense (c.f. face to face and paper surveys).  You don’t even need to have your own website to conduct an online survey, making it very useful to those businesses who trade using social media alone.

If you would like to book a one hour free discussion about your customer or market research needs, please call The Author: Teresa Bassham, Zenworkz Authentic Marketing Coach on 02 6686 8413.

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