Understand Your Customer by Paying Attention To Data

Many entrepreneurs tell me that their product is not selling. As an answer, I ask them “who is your customer, do you understand your customer?”. This question sounds very simple but the moment you begin to explore it, you will be amazed how much of your business success depends on it. So In this blog I want to introduce you to Data. Using data intelligence  as a tool to understand your customer better. 

Understand your customer beyond money!

When I ask the question of who the customers are, the most popular answer I get is  – people with money, people that can afford it etc. Everything seems to be tied around the monetary aspect which I believe is completely wrong. But let us say we want to explore it only from the monetary angle. What does “people with money” actually mean? How much are we talking about? Who are these people? How will you know they have money? What do you judge by? Is it the clothes they wear, where they shop, who they hang out with, what they watch, where they live, what they do? 

Know what data is to understand your customer

First of all, let’s explore data. What is data? Wikipedia has an extensive and very technical explanation of what data is – Data are units of information, often numeric, that are collected through observation. However, forget the long mechanics on data. For you as a small business owner, what you want is basically to understand your customers and serve them better. But there is the process of gathering information that is relevant to understanding your customers and this process is data collection. I want to show you how to do this in a very basic and simplified manner. 

Basic rules about data collection

But before, Let us talk about ethics. You can only gather data from your customers that they allow you to. Do not share this information with someone else outside your business. Please only use this information that you gathered to understand your customers better with the purpose of serving them better. Not with the purpose of simply selling them more products, to get money and increase your revenue. If this is your motivation, you will not move far. It is important to embrace ethics when doing business. Large companies tend to manipulate the consumer after understanding them better. This is  not a good practice. Because you can do something does not mean you should. Ok, enough of my preaching, now let’s get down with data to understand your customer better. 

Check previous vlogs to learn the basics

In a previous video on my YouTube Channel, I talked about 2 distinct information you should care about – The demographics of your consumer and the psychographic information. This is a great place to start. I encourage you to go watch those videos using the links above respectively. After you have watched them, here are some ways beneath to gather the data. 

Understand you customers demographics

Major demographic information you will need include: age, ethnicity, gender, marital status, income, location, education, and employment. You can easily and effectively collect this kind of information using printed or online surveys, questionnaires, quiz and such. Actually, your newsletter is the best way to go about this. There are many free newsletter tools like Mailchimp which you can use. So if you do not have a newsletter, make sure to create one.

On the other hand Psychographic data is information about a person’s values, attitudes, interests and personality traits. The customer individual views the world and the things that interest them are based on these values. This is where I encourage you to be human and respect other humans as we are all spiritual beings having a human material experience. Knowing what your customers likes and their value system is rather sacred. This is not information to disregard and extract only for profit. Respect and truly value this information. 

Does your product offer true value?

Based on this information, you can now revise your product and see if it actually helps that consumer or if your product is only a manipulative piece in the puzzle. I am very keen on this information because I want us to evolve from exploitatory mindset to sustainable and mindful entrepreneurship. In this blog about mindfulness to build your business, I shed more light on strategies to optimise your products and services. Being mindful and respecting the consumer is the only way you can build a long lasting business. So revise your products and services. Find better ways to integrate more value and better experience for your customer. Find a way to store these information securely and learn how to analyse this information. 

Wrap up and take aways

That was a heavy introduction on how to use data intelligence to understand your customers. I think you deserve a quick wrap up here. Embrace the ethics and respect the customers information, values and data. Gather information using simple tools and store these data information properly. Go beyond demographics and learn more psychographics information about your consumer. Then optimise your product to give real value and deeper consumer experience. Now you are ready to get to the next level. Remember to subscribe to my newsletter if you want to know when I release even more educational blog content. Thank you for reading and please do share this blog with people that might need it. 



I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

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