16th February, 2018
No hospitality business can be all things to all people, and trying to offer something to every customer is a fool’s game – so knowing your customer base is super-important.
Creating a customer profile can help you narrow down who your typical customer is, so you can use that information to create a business and a marketing plan specifically designed to reach them.
This not only helps save valuable marketing funds, but is essential for building a stable and trusted connection with your customer.
After all, offering a product or service to somebody who isn’t interested isn’t a great way to run a business.
Your customer research should comprise of two categories – firstly, demographic information.
This should include the age, gender, income level, occupation and family circumstances of those close to your business.
Are potential customers walking past your venue, or usually driving past? Do they come past on the way somewhere or do they intentionally seek a venue out?
These questions will help you work out who is most likely coming to your venue.
Then, think about psychographic information.
What media do they read? What are their spending patterns, their values and their lifestyle choices?
This research, which is easily obtained by asking questions or looking at census data, allows you to work out how to reach the people who are most likely to want, or even need, what it is you have to offer.
Now you know all about your customers, it’s time to figure out what you can give them that nobody else nearby can.
Defining what you do well and then concentrating on becoming the leader in your category means that you can focus on reaching specific customers who want exactly what it is you’re offering.
For example, if you open an ‘in-house’ coffee roastery and café in a corporate ‘white collar’ CBD location; focus on producing the best coffee, reaching the nearby coffee drinkers and churning out as much of that coffee as you can.
There will always be the odd customer passing by who wants a children’s menu, a fancy juice menu or a breakfast item they love – but make sure your focus is always on your core business offering and supports the pillar of your business identity.
How can you do this?
There are simple tools you can employ within your business to shape your offerings into that of a confident venue, leading the charge in your specific category.
Once you have a clear vision of what it is your business stands for, what products you will be offering and to whom, you can start working out how to target that specific customer.
For example, if you’re thinking of opening a restaurant (or have one already), look hard at the people who visit similar venues nearby. Are they usually business people, tourists or families?
Do they seem to dash in and out of restaurants with takeaway, or do they take their time to sit in and eat? Is there a home-delivery culture, meaning less foot traffic?
Using these facts to dictate the style of menu you have, the layout of the tables, your food presentation and the ordering and payment processes all mean that you are refining your business to perfectly suit your target customer.
Get it right and your business will inevitably become more stable and your cash flow more predictable.
Like any skill we learn, remaining focused on your business direction requires a consistent effort and practice to maintain, therefore, developing an official business identity and customer profile is strongly recommended.
When faced with decisions such as what products or services to offer, where you’re going to advertise or even how much to charge, referring yourself back to your core identity guarantees that your decisions are made with the customer in mind.