How to understand customers in a digital marketing environment

DSM Digital School of Marketing - digital marketing

In an age where trends shift more rapidly than the weather, understanding who your customer is – as well as what makes them tick – is critical to a digital marketer’s success. We need to know who our prospects are, what they enjoy doing online, what they expect from online brands, who they look up to, and what sorts of products they aspire to own.

The digital marketing environment consists of two parts:

  • The micro-environment, which is called the operating environment, and
  • The macro-environment that is called the remote environment.

The terms ‘environmental scanning’ describes customer behaviour or flow of online visitors amongst search engines, media sites, other intermediaries to a company and its competitors.

Here are the linkage between online business and customer journey:

  • Customer segments or target segment
  • Search intermediaries or search engines (typically Google)
  • Intermediaries and media or publisher sites (aggregators and affiliates)
  • Destination sites and platforms – where marketers are trying to attract visitors

The environment and online marketplace analysis is implemented by understanding the current trends and levels of use of the Internet.

This article lays out three activities that digital marketers should undertake in order to better understand their customers:

Assess your data

Your business has customers, even if people aren’t walking through your doors. Take a look at your website or social media analytics, which offers up quite a large amount of customer information. For example, Google Analytics lets you see where your website visitors live, which channels they used to access your website, what tabs they clicked on, whether they used a mobile device or desktop, and even demographics like gender and age. By tabulating this data, you will have a better understanding of who is intrigued by what you have to offer. Information of this nature will also help you build your ideal client personas.

Build personas

Once you’ve collected data regarding the people interacting with your brand (via website, social media, or blog) you should develop detailed personas of who your ideal customers are. Start with broader descriptions like gender and age, then drill down into personality traits and possible commercial habits. For example, if visitors to your website and your social media followers are split roughly 50/50 in terms of gender, you’ll start with two personas (e.g.: Supermom Suzie and Businessman Bob). Brainstorming things like would Bob be a social media user, does Suzie shop online, and what tones of voice would they respond to best will further develop the personas.

Bridge the gap

Another important question to ask about your customers is: who do they look up to? People will large social media followings have become influencers, where brands will approach them to promote a product or service in their private capacity. If your ideal customer were to listen to the advice of one industry professional, who would it be? Understanding who is most likely to influence your ideal customer/s, you get a picture of the specific traits your digital marketing should embody for maximum engagement. By using influencers, a brand can bridge the gap between themselves as a business and the customer as a person (with the influencer being a person who is acting as a vessel for the brand).

Knowing and understanding your customer is critical to business success in the modern marketplace.

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DSM Digital School Of Marketing - Public Relations