The commercial world is not just filled with different types of goods and services but also different types of consumers. Whether your business makes a profit on selling goods or on offering services, you would do well if you can identify and understand the consumers you’re serving.
Consumers, however, aren’t just there for the purchase. If you really want to get ahead of your competitors, learn how to listen and to respond accordingly to the different types of consumers you’re dealing with.
Contrary to what the name may imply, these are consumers that don’t always like confrontation or making a stir. They want everyone to get along, and, even though they aren’t exactly pushovers, they often change their beliefs in order to better society and experience more overall peace. They do not put their beliefs and interests above societal concerns, and their desire is for society as a whole to be amicable and pleasant to one another so that in the end, no one makes waves and everybody is on the same page.
Yes, businesses of all types are a very important consumer group, and they also provide the advantage of buying a lot of goods because they can afford to do so. A lot of commercial and business consumers buy wholesale and then negotiate prices with their suppliers, which is something that other consumers simply cannot do. When you’re a marketing or advertising company, you cannot forget about this very unique class of consumers because the class includes commercial, retail, wholesale, and industrial consumers.
In addition to regular corporations, commercial consumers can also include non-profit organizations and governmental entities. They often buy either large quantities or in bulk, and, regardless of the product they need, they may have special needs associated with their purchases, such as the need for you to work with purchase orders. These consumers can directly affect what retail and end-user customers can afford to pay for goods and services, which means that they are not a consumer group to be ignored.
Conscientious consumers are disciplined and are high achievers in everything they do. They are often the first ones to try a new product, and, because they are conscientious, they do not normally participate in anything spontaneous. They are not susceptible to impulse purchases, but they think over each and every decision to make sure it’s the right one for them. If they buy your product, it is likely a decision they are never going to regret. Conscientious consumers, while not placing all emphasis on price, are willing to pay a little more for a better product, and they love nothing more than to get a good bargain for the money they are willing to spend.
The name of this group says it all, because these are consumers who are constantly on the lookout for discounts of all types. For this reason, once they find a store or brand that offers a great deal, they are more likely to stick with it for a lifetime. In most instances, these consumers only make a purchase when something is on sale or is offered at a discount, so, if you want these people to buy from you, make sure that you play up the fact that they will save money while doing so.
For discount customers, social media pages and direct mail are great ways to advertise to them. In fact, the more you can do to make sure these people know there’s a sale or discount going on, the more likely they are to buy your product or visit your store time and time again.
Discretionary Spending Consumers
Put simply, these consumers have a lot of discretionary income to spend, and they often have very unique purchasing habits. Even during a recession, for example, teenagers spend a lot of money on things such as clothes and electronics. This is partly because, for the most part, teenagers have no bills to pay, so every penny that they earn they get to keep and spend. Although their purchasing habits can rise and fall relative to their parents’ income, this is still a stable and reliable consumer group that all marketing companies should strive to reach on a regular basis.
Extroverted consumers have a lot of energy, are very social in every aspect of their lives, and are very enthusiastic about everything life has to offer them. With a higher need than normal to interact with others, extroverted consumers prefer brands that center around uniqueness and emotional energy. They are more likely to be loyal to certain brands than other types of consumers, and once you gain them as a customer, it is very likely they will remain that way for life.
Of all of the consumer groups, these are often the most difficult to deal with because they rarely shop with a particular service or product in mind. They pay little attention to brands for the most part, and a lot of their purchases are made on a whim, making them very hard to predict. To be honest, most purchases made in most cities and countries throughout the world are impulse purchases, even when it comes to larger items such as cars and houses.
Because this is so, it is good to keep in mind that a comprehensive marketing campaign has to be devised with people like this in mind. Once you are successful in marketing to them, however, it can mean a lot of money for your business. Impulse purchases are usually not logical decisions, but emotional ones. Because of this, impulse buyer-centered marketers can be pleased by taking into consideration their emotions and the reasons they make these purchases in the first place, which isn’t as difficult as it may sound.
Inferior Goods Consumers
The term “inferior” doesn’t necessarily mean that the items purchased are sub-standard, but rather that consumers who have lower incomes tend to purchase goods with lower prices. One major example of this is that they often choose store brands over items that come with a well-known brand name. Instead of looking at the brand first, inferior goods consumers look at the price. If their income falls, they tend to increase the amount of money they spend on inferior goods, but they still purchase these goods. For this reason, a marketing or promotion company should consider the inferior goods consumers to be a very important group to market to.
Usually a small but very significant consumer group, they will continue to do business with you because they are extremely loyal to either your product or your store. One of the biggest advantages of having loyal customers is that they love to spread the word to family members and friends about the advantages of shopping with you, and, for this reason, you can gain a lot more customers in the end.
Many stores have loyalty programs that offer discounts for those who shop there frequently, and if you’re interested in gaining this type of customer, personalization is key. You have to give these customers continuous and repeated attention through never-ending marketing promotions because if they think you’ve forgotten about them, they can easily become a loyalty customer to some other store or brand.
Loyalty customers can also be called habitual customers since they tend to buy the same brands time after time without giving it much thought. Examples of loyalty customers include beer and cigarette purchasers, because these people rarely stray from their favorite brand. Loyalty consumers provide a great return on your investment, or ROI, and they are not a consumer group to be forgotten or overlooked.
Luxury Goods Consumers
When consumers meet their basic needs, such as paying for food and shelter, they usually turn to the purchase of luxury goods next. Luxury goods can include everything from large-screen television sets to expensive jewelry, and even a new computer or a fancy piece of furniture. In most instances, the consumer considers the brand name of the item they’re purchasing to be more important than the price they pay for it.
If you’re marketing top-notch luxury goods, you have to concentrate on the products’ overall quality and their emotional appeal, not the price. The more a consumer makes, the more luxury goods that consumer tends to purchase, so their income, above a basic amount, and their consumption of certain luxury goods are always directly related to one another.
These customers buy items in order to fulfill some type of need. This can be a financial need, a spiritual need, a practical need, or even a legal need. Need-based consumers need marketing campaigns that anticipate their needs, which usually works best when you use all different types of marketing, including online, social media, and print.
They may need a new car for an upcoming vacation, a financial planner to help them prepare for retirement, or a therapist because their life has become one big stressor. Whatever it is, you can capitalize on that need if you do your due diligence and discover what those needs are as quickly as possible.
Because a consumer’s personality and main goals for shopping should always be considered in any marketing campaign, it is important to keep in mind consumers from all different socio-economic groups. This includes the neurotic consumers, who always look at the glass as being half-empty and can be very unstable emotionally.
Neurotic consumers can experience more depression, anxiety, and anger than other consumer groups, and therefore they may not trust your particular brand at first. They tend to be very negative and paranoid, so marketing your product to this group is always a challenge. It is not, however, a hopeless cause to go after them. You just have to study them and know what you’re dealing with before you develop any type of promotional campaign.
A lot of marketers tend to forget about this type of consumer, but this is a mistake. Open consumers are some of the easiest people to market to because their characteristics include appreciation for unusual ideas, more creativity than the average individual, a sense of being original in everything they say and do, and strongly held beliefs that are unique and even uncommon.
On the other hand, people who are considered “closed” like routine because they usually consider change as something negative. If you have a one-of-a-kind product to market, this is a great consumer group to begin with because they are very likely to be one of the first customers to step up and try your product.
Put simply, these consumers are out to purchase items for household, personal, or family use. These items can include everything from kitchen towels to a new bicycle, and even laptops and toys. If the item is for personal use, the person doing the buying is a personal consumer.
Most marketers use certain techniques to appeal to personal consumers, which includes being on the lookout for ways to add onto a product or upgrade it in order to make the product more attractive to consumers. As you can imagine, personal consumers are big spenders all year long, so marketers are consistently improving both their products and their promotional campaigns to keep these consumers interested twelve months a year.
This one is easy to figure out, because these are customers that shop for products which are only available at certain times of the year. When it comes to determining how many Halloween tote bags or Christmas trees to purchase for your customers, it can be a bit difficult to do, but these consumers tend to spend a lot of money on these types of items, and, therefore, they need to be taken seriously.
They buy sweaters when it’s winter time and beach towels when it’s hot outside. When you’re marketing your product or service, therefore, these customers must be kept in mind because they spend an awful lot of money on these and other products throughout the year.
Connecting with Your Customers the Easy Way
Have Some Patience
Like a relationship with an individual, relationships with customers take time, so be patient, and realize that it won’t happen overnight. If it is your first time speaking with a customer, and that customer ends up rejecting the offer, don’t get discouraged. If you’ve spent enough time and attention on the customer up to that point, the chances are good that he or she will come back in the future when the product you’re selling is necessary.
The one thing customers do not like is a high-pressure sales or one that makes them feel they have to make the decision before they’re ready. Customers don’t want to be rushed, and, if that’s what they’re feeling, they’ll believe that you care more about the sale than you do about them. This is never a good feeling, and you can avoid evoking that feeling from your customers by attending to their needs, informing them how your product can meet those needs, and taking your time with the relationship so that they eventually come over to your side.
Make Sure You’re Really Listening, Not Just Hearing
Although it sounds simple, truly listening to someone can be more difficult than you think. If you ask someone a question, and then your mind wanders as you think of the items on your to-do list, you’re not really listening to that person. With customers, listening is even more important. After all, like other people, customers are insulted when they feel like you are not really listening to what they have to say.
Asking customers questions puts you in control because the more answers you receive, the better you’ll understand your customers. However, you have to really listen to their answers, not just half-listen to them, because this is the only way to make sure you come up with an idea to meet the customers’ needs. While you’re listening, you can get a clear picture of what they need and want, which allows you to take the next step of catering your product towards those needs.
Act Like Customers are People You Wish to Date
This one may sound strange, but you have to court your customers just like you did with a date back in college. On average, you’ll have to share a product or opportunity with ten people in order to get three people who are genuinely interested. You also can’t expect them to call you back unless you provide them with some type of hook. After you talk to them the first time, consider sending them an email with additional information on your product or even a magazine article on something you discussed with them when you first met.
Whatever you do, don’t be pushy, because just as potential dates, they will flee if they feel that you’re stalking them. Simply woo the customer with your very best behavior, give it some time, and, most importantly, don’t suddenly cut off the attention you’re paying to them once they become a customer.
Get a Little Old-Fashioned with Your Techniques
Many people grew up with a neighborhood store that was individually owned, not a part of a large national chain, and it is very likely this store always provided the undivided attention that you deserve every time you shopped there. They provided everything from fresh vegetables to outdoor furniture, and maybe even items such as tires and prescriptions. That neighborhood store is something you should always model your own business after because customers can get lost in the shuffle if they feel like they are just one of a million customers that you have.
Remembering certain aspects about each and every customer, even if you have to make notes to yourself after you talk to them, can make a big difference in the opinion your customer has about your business. If their daughter recently got married, ask them how the wedding went, and, if they just welcomed a new grandbaby into the world, ask if it was a boy or a girl and how the baby and mother are doing. These are little things to the business owner, but big deals to the customers, and it greatly increases the odds that they’ll come back to you in the future.
Remove Yourself from Technology for a Bit
Everybody loves their smartphones and tablets, but if you’ve constantly got your face in one of these devices, you won’t have the time to pay the right amount of attention to your customers. Individual attention will never go out of style, and your customers appreciate it more than you know.
Get off the phone, tablet, and computer and spend some quality face-to-face time with your customers and would-be customers on a regular basis. This is not only a nice thing to do, it is imperative if you want your business to grow. Whether you’re selling a product or a service, your customers are the crux of your business, and it behooves you to never forget this fact.
Stay in Constant Contact with Your Customers
Thanks to social media, it has never been easier to keep in touch with your customers on a regular basis. If your customers don’t hear from you fairly frequently, they can feel more inclined to become someone else’s customer. This is especially true for professional services such as insurance companies and financial planners because they don’t see their customers on a regular basis.
Sending out regular newsletters, but not bombarding them with too many, is a great way to keep your customers informed of new products and services. It also lets them know that they are important because after all, why would you send that newsletter if you didn’t consider them important? Your website should stay up-to-date at all times, and don’t forget about pages such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
You shouldn’t send them something every day, but once a week or twice a month is enough to let them know you care about keeping them informed of what your business is doing.
Keeping in touch with your customers is crucial, and it is the best way to make sure they get important details or changes in your product or service, which means they will come back to you every time they need what you’re offering.