The ever-evolving digital consumer

3-minute read

Everybody in business today knows their typical customer, right?


I’ve talked to a number of entrepreneurs in recent months about how they could improve their online marketing presence. Their responses suggested to me they’re not in tune with how their customers have evolved.

“I would never use my smartphone to do that!” one told me.

Another said: “Why would anyone want to watch a YouTube video about that?”

It’s all about what customers want

In one of the cases above, the entrepreneur was a male in his late 40s. His target customer is a woman in her early to mid‑30s. Those are two very different demographic profiles. While he would never use his smartphone to interact with a company in the way I was suggesting, I can almost guarantee his target customer almost always would.

Buying habits are changing

There’s been a radical shift in buying habits in the last decade and many entrepreneurs have yet to evolve their thinking to keep pace.

The concept of ‘show rooming’ is a prime example. It’s the phenomenon of consumers doing their price comparison and other research online and then going to a business to actually see and try the product.

If a business is lucky, the consumer will find the specific product he or she is looking for at a specific price while they’re in the store. If they don’t, they’ll be back at their computer to make the purchase online. (Just ask an electronics dealer).

Don’t tell me, show me!

Acquiring a new customer, regardless of the business, can be complicated and costly. That’s why it’s so important for small businesses to streamline the buying experience. And that starts with understanding your customers.

We hear statements such as: “Well, we think…” or “Generally speaking, our customers tell us…” That’s helpful, but not nearly precise enough information to make a change in a business’s direction. You need data that tells you who you should be targeting as potential customers and what you should be doing to attract them.

Take advantage of online data

Going with your gut is how many entrepreneurs got into business and that should never be discounted. But, if you can get access to data that helps you make more informed decisions, then give your gut a rest. Go with what you can prove is true.

At BDC, we try to balance anecdotal information with hard data. The beauty of the transition to a more digital world is we have tools at our disposal to help figure out who we should be talking to and what they will respond to.

To learn more, download our free guide, Boost Your Sales with Online Marketing: A Guide for Entrepreneurs.

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