Understanding Who Your Customer Really Is


Please find some links and notes from the 2 Regular Guys Podcast. It is extremely important to understanding who your customer is. On this episode, Aaron Montgomery explains to us how some companies are missing the boat and what to do instead. We also explore why this matters and what you can do to improve your business.

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Understanding Who Your Customer Is

Terry: Start by giving us an overview of what we are going to talk about this week.

You guys are kind enough to let me explore this with you today, and the reason it came up is through some thinking and exploring of my wife’s side business of selling Rodan and Fields. You would think the customer is skincare related, but if you dig in the real customer for my wife is the person, in this case typically ladies, who are looking for their own side businesses. My wife went into it thinking it was selling skin care but is now having to pivot after figure out who the customer really needs to be. That got me thinking about our business environment and business in general. Things are changing so rapidly in our business worlds, to, me it seems the people that have the best chance of success are the businesses who have a very clear understanding of who their customer REALLY is and how they tick. Then understand that your customer is ever changing and could be different today than it was just a few years ago. Think of companies like Sears or JCPenneys. Or the story of Polaroid.  I think you can look at this on a lot of levels and also see some really major companies facing some major challenges ahead and I personally think some of their problems might be related to not understanding who their customer is. See Facebook.

Erich: Tell us more about how you see Facebook missing who their customer really is- I know tons of people are going to question how such a huge entity with so much information could not know its customer profile.

Yup Facebook. The company we all though was too big to fail if for the first time really in their history showing some negative numbers in their world. Now, this is not to say they are going away anytime soon, but they are certainly facing an identity crisis and they have stockholders asking why. To me, their biggest issue is they don’t know who their customer is. They have all of these users, but they get paid by the businesses that they have been screwing over with each algorithm change. Yet they don’t seem to have much concern for them, they seem more concerned with Grandma not seeing too many ads. Certainly a good idea in some regards, but at the expense of their customers? I just don’t think they know who their customer is an ultimately it could be their demise.

Terry: So what about some closer to home companies that might be missing the mark?

I think we all can be wary of this, but a couple of examples in general would be some of the trade shows. I don’t know all of the nuts and bolts of their inner workings, but there are times that it seems like to me that certain decisions and policies don’t seem to indicate they understand who their customers are. An example of the opposite would be the DAX Shows. I can’t think of an exhibitor who doesn’t think Scott and Margie go over and above for them, and their shows continue to grow, 21 years later. Plus they work really hard to provide quality education and make sure the speakers are taken care of too. That is how you get quality speakers to keep coming back. Even closer to home would be some of the distributors out there trying to be something to everyone, but not really focused on any one thing. You need a DTG machine, or you need a pack of paper, you can get it, but do you get quality help and an understanding of what will make your business successful?

Erich: This is one of my constant drumbeats; be a consultant, not a commodity. You have to care, share, and give that unique value. So what do you the think businesses can do to avoid some of these pitfalls?

One of the big things is something Terry and I have spent a lot of time talking about on this show and in seminars, is find your niche and own it. The only way to really do that is to immerse yourself in your customers to understand them, and therefore you are going to be able to fill their needs and not worry about the race to the bottom of the price war. The other thing to do is swallow your pride. The polaroid story goes that they had the technology for a digital camera, but felt they knew what their customers wanted without asking them, so they hid the technology to keep their film business going strong. How did that work out for them? On the flip side of that look at Wal-Mart. Because of Amazon their business changed, and instead of digging their heels in and saying we know better, our customer want to come see the freak show that is a Walmart location, the grabbed the bull by the horns and used what they had (lots of fulfillment centers that Amazon did not have) and took on the e-commerce world. They forced Amazon to buy Whole Foods to keep up but they listened to their customer and understood who and what they were.

Erich: Now we know that we have to identify our niche, explore that space, and in it unique value in that space, and you explained to us how we need to be adaptable to the needs of those customers we’ve defined and not get caught up in ‘the way we’ve always done things’ – What are some actionable steps businesses can take to identify their customers and stay in step with their needs?

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