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Profile-Powered Marketing (Part 2)

Who are your customers and what do they want?

CHICAGO — Thanks to modern marketing techniques, more is known about customers and their habits now than ever before. Messages can be aimed at very specific groups to deliver advertising that can improve their lives by presenting them with services that will streamline their lives and let them focus on what they want to do.

Cleaners still relying on traditional methods of advertising can find themselves losing market share to competitors who are speaking directly to the customer. One of the most effective ways to focus marketing efforts is by using customer profiles. In Part 1 of this series, we examined what customer profiles are and how they can be used by cleaners to reach their audience. Today, we’ll start by asking one of the most important questions a business owner can ask.

Who Are Your Customers?

When it comes to building a profile, the two most valuable sets of information marketers can use to define their audiences are demographic data and psychographic data.

“Demographic information tells you if someone is male or female, what age they are, where they live, how much income they have, and so on,” says Lauren Essex, vice president of Bospar, a national public relations and marketing organization based in California. “It’s the most basic type of information.”

Essex says that dry cleaners can start the process of building a demographic picture of their clientele on their own at any time.

“There are lots of different ways to accomplish this,” she says. “It can be done by using online surveys, or it can be done by sending questionnaires to see who currently is buying from you right now. You could also buy a list of customers from the drycleaner industry in general and do a survey.”

This method can be a valuable yet simple way to build a picture of the customer base and what they might want from their dry cleaner.

“Survey your customers to understand who they are, what they’re looking for, and if they are satisfied with your services today,” Essex advises. “Also, you can learn what else they might be looking for. Have a couple of ‘straw man’ ideas to put in there — perhaps new products or services they might be looking for — and you could ask them to rate those ideas to gain an understanding of what a new-product pipeline might look like, based on those responses from your customers.”

But demographic data has its limitations. The more valuable data, she says, can be found in psychographic information.

“Psychographics talk about attitudes, emotions, and other kinds of behaviors that point to other interests they might have,” she says. “If there’s a gardening interest that pops up in one of the segments based on a psychographic analysis, for instance, you might have targeted ads that feature dirt-soiled knees. It’s based on the psychographics of what your audience actually does, versus simply ‘45-year-old women living in a suburban area.’”

Diana Vollmer, managing director of the Ascend Consulting Group, based in San Francisco, gives an example of two 50-year-old males living in the same ZIP code and making a similar income. They might seem similar demographically, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll start to see the differences.

One man might be an artist, for instance, while the other might be a nuclear physicist. “Their lifestyles are very different,” she says, “so their needs are going to be different, and their passions are going to be different.”

Knowing this information about their customer base allows dry cleaners to shape their messages and reach different groups with different offers or messages through various media.

“Once you identify who the broad target audience is,” Essex says, “you drill down to the subgroups that act the same way — who have the same philosophy, the same needs and same motivations, and then you can group those people together.”

Come back Tuesday for the conclusion of this series, where we’ll examine ways to build your customer marketing profiles. For Part 1, click HERE.

Profile-Powered Marketing

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Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].