The importance of understanding your customers

How do you judge a successful marketer? Is it how quickly they can grow a website audience, how many social media followers they can attract, or what their analytics stats look like? The answers may vary, but at the heart of it, the mark of a successful marketer is the customers.

No matter how many ‘how-to’ guides you consult or social media courses you take, the customers are the defining metric of a good marketing campaign. Your audience needs to connect with your brand and engage with your content at the end of the day.

Understanding your customers or audience is the key to developing content that they will want and share. Knowing what they like and dislike is just as important as growing your audience further.

Customer-centric marketing

This is a method of marketing that employs personalised messages, content and products that delivers exactly what the customer wants. The entire business should be centred around the customers’ needs and the company’s goal should be to provide something special for the audience.

Customers can be the most loyal when they feel like they’re being given special treatment and that they are appreciated. It can improve the relationship between your brand and the audience, driving customer retention.

customer high five with man in suit

The basis of customer-centric marketing lies in not telling your audience what they need, but rather in providing tailored content and products that cater to their existing needs. Avoid pushing your products upon your audience, rather provide products and services that actually help the customer in some way.

Focussing on your customers’ needs is so important nowadays; with increased competition, the customers can simply look elsewhere if they don’t like your marketing approach or what you have to offer.

Knowing what your customers want

There are over 82 million blog posts published on WordPress every month. This show the growing importance of content marketing and catering to the audience’s needs. With such stiff competition in the blogging sphere, your audience won’t put up with poor quality content or boring topics.

The best way to stand out from the millions of other blogs is to produce unique content that directly addresses the needs of your audience. Being relevant is the single biggest driver of success for blogs and websites.

If the audience likes your content, they’ll become loyal customers. This, in turn, makes it easier to sell your offerings to them as they need less convincing. This can reduce your marketing costs without harming your sales profit.

Loyal customers are also more likely to share your content on their social media channels, as well as suggest your business to their friends and family. These customer-driven recommendations are great for business as they come with pre-established trust. This makes the sales conversion quicker and easier.

Person looking at images on a laptop screen

How to understand your customers

To truly understand your audience, you need to stop guessing what they want and start listening to them. Engage with them via your social media platforms and try to establish what they actually want from your brand.

Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos says that they see their customers as invited guests to a party, and Amazon is the host. “It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better,” he says.

Amazon uses the following five steps to understand their customers better:

  1. Build a buyer persona – Describe the ideal customer in detail and give them a name and personality. Include a job title, age, location and preferences. Create a few of these personas and then look at the bigger picture and ask yourself how you can connect with them better. Don’t neglect certain demographics of your audience and rework these personas every year to account for shifting needs and changing goals in the industry.
  2. Pay attention to social media – Your customers will comment on your posts, letting you know how they feel about your products and brand. Look at this feedback and learn from it. Social listening involves going a bit deeper than monitoring your comment threads; you need to search your brand name and see what other people are saying about you on their own channels.
  3. Conduct surveys – The best way to get answers from your target audience is to ask them directly. Create surveys and questionnaires that evoke honest insights from your audience. Remember to keep your survey simple, quick to complete and embed them on your site. Humanise your language by saying “We’d love to hear from you” as this shows that there is a real purpose to the survey.
  4. Look at the top-performing content – Certain formats will perform better than others; videos are often the best, but sometimes infographics and long-form blog posts do better. This will show what your audience likes (and dislikes) about your website, and what they connect with. Google Analytics is the best way to get this insight. Knowing what your audience loves will allow you to create similar content in the future and cater to their needs.
  5. Look at the customers who are not converting – Sometimes the biggest lessons come from those who didn’t convert into paying customers. It can be tricky to extract information from the leads that fail but it can be done. Identify the gaps in your sales funnel and provide content for every stage of the buyer journey, from awareness to consideration to decision-making.  Look at where you’re getting engagement, but no conversions and try a different approach or content format in these areas.

The hardest thing to change about your marketing strategy is to stop pushing products that you think your audience will need and to rather spend time listening to them so that you can actually provide useful offerings.

A good marketing strategy pays attention to the customer and offers unique solutions to their problems. Good research and a well-thought-out approach are needed for a customer-centric marketing strategy. Work with your clients to improve your offerings and build a loyal following in the process.


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Written by Joshua Oates


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