How well do you know your customers? Really.

What is it they say about assumption? That to assume is to make an ass out of you and me? Marketing cliches aside, when it comes to getting to know your customers, it’s wise to bare this old adage in mind.

It’s easy to assume you know your customers. But do you? Really? What insight do you have? All too often businesses get the basics right, collecting name, email, postal address etc. Many overlay customer behaviour to gain a better understanding of their audience.

But the risk is that this CUSTOMER UNDERSTANDING is conflated with CUSTOMER INSIGHT. Knowing a customer’s name, age and gender, what they bought, how often they buy and how long they’ve had a product is incredibly useful for helping you understand who they are and what they do, but it reveals little about why they might be buying from you.

By concentrating on customer understanding you miss an opportunity to leverage CUSTOMER INSIGHT to connect personally to your audience and use relevant content to engage them with your marketing messages.

All is not always as it seems…

Imagine an online store, selling skateboards. Let’s call it Board Stupid. Your data shows the bulk of your audience are males and females aged 16 – 20. It’s a given really, young people like to skate, right?

But an analysis of your sales reveals that men aged between 30 and 50, although making up just 10% of your base, drive 60% of the value. Behavioural analysis shows that this demographic spend more and spend more often. Armed with this analysis, you do some research and come up with some actionable CUSTOMER INSIGHT. There are actually plenty of older skaters out there, who refuse to hang up their pads and want to ride the best boards or who now derive pleasure from collecting skateboards to hang on their walls.

With actionable customer insights, you can tailor campaigns

Knowing your customer base means you can drill down into their motivations and tailor your communications so they are much more personal. Going back to our fictional skate shop, knowing what you now know, the way you market Board Stupid to a millennial / Gen X audience could be very different to how you target 16 – 20-year-olds.

Understanding your different audiences and why they’re buying from you will inform everything from your messaging to your tone of voice, to new product development. Ultimately, all of this will help you to tailor your customer journeys, take advantage of opportunities to sell and maximise your conversions.

So how do you make sure you really know your customers?

Here are four tips to gaining that all important, actionable insight

  1. Utilise your customer database and analyse your sales stats – Having a CRM programme in place is vital so you can analyse customer data, uncover any anomalies and identify actionable insights. So firstly, if you don’t have a CRM programme in place, get one. And if you don’t know where to start, we can help with that; drop us a message and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.
  2. Have an ‘always on’ strategy – Maximise opportunities with your sign up. Don’t just capture name and email address. Ask for DOB, where they live and how they identify – if you’re worried about being intrusive make it clear it’s not a required field. Or consider hosting a longer form with more fields that can sit on a customer’s account. You could incentivise customers to complete it by offering a points boost if you have a rewards programme, a voucher to spend in your store or a prize draw.
  3. Look at your social media stats – Each platform has insights that you can use to understand who your followers are. Your digital paid media reports can also help form a picture of the types of people who have previously engaged with your content. And you can manipulate data in your Google Analytics account to categorise the demographics of your website visitors.
  4. Ask them! Reach out to your customers with a survey and find out more about their likes/dislikes. You can incentivise with a voucher for your store or a relevant prize. You could also use this as an opportunity to gain feedback on your products and services. Keep it light though, nobody likes a loooong survey! Just a simple form will do.


Really knowing your customers is central to having a relationship with them that feels like a 1-2-1 and central to successfully retaining them and recruiting more that look like them. Know who they are, understand their behaviour and analyse the data you have to develop insights that you can act on.

Flourish can help you get to know your customers and better understand what makes them tick. Get in touch and we’ll show you how.


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