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Identifying Customer Needs and Wants — Everything a Marketer Should Know

how to identify customer needs and wants

Businesses have become more customer-centric than ever before. The reason is that they have to find a way to stand out from the crowd in today’s competitive market. Nowadays, customers worldwide are bombarded with ads and sales pitches daily. It has come to the point where these have begun achieving the opposite effect, which is only making business that much harder. That is why so many brands have turned toward a customer-centric approach. By identifying customer needs and wants, both small and large companies can manage to attract a wider audience than their competition. In a sense, shifting the focus to the customer has become the first step toward building any successful marketing strategy.

But how challenging is it to provide the best customer experience possible? Can anyone do it? Let’s immediately answer that — yes, they can. However, there are many things you will have to do on your journey, starting with identifying customer needs and wants! Luckily, you’re in the right place; we’re going to teach you how to do that! Here’s what we’ll cover:

But let’s tackle some essential concepts first.

What Are Customer Needs?

Customer needs are motives behind customers’ purchasing decisions. In other words, they are the driving force behind your customers’ actions. That is why businesses view customer needs as an opportunity for financial profit. 

If your products and services correspond to what your audience is looking for, they will be more likely to purchase them. It’s as simple as that!

Come look at a quick example! Let’s say it’s around 2 p.m., you’re at work, lunchtime is approaching, and you’re famished. If your company doesn’t include lunch as one of the benefits, you will likely need to order some food. That is where the services of a food delivery business meet customer needs! Doing so provides excellent user experience, which will play a significant role in driving returning customers.

The same applies to other industries and businesses as well! 

Types of Customer Needs

Now that you know what customer needs are, let’s take a quick look at the various types of customer needs. You should aim to meet as many of these as possible to get the best results.

Product Needs

Product needs revolve around the usefulness of your product to your customer base. If your product doesn’t fit your clients’ needs, they will go elsewhere to shop.

  1. Functionality — Functionality reflects how well your products meet the specific customer’s needs.
  2. Price — Price reflects how affordable your product is to your audience.
  3. Convenience — This aspect demonstrates how much effort your customers need to put in to make your product fulfill their needs.
  4. Experience — If your customers run into problems while using your product, they might be reluctant to ever buy your product again.
  5. Design — Your product has to be sleek and practical to leave an excellent impression on your buyers.
  6. Reliability — The product’s functionality needs to match the advertising material to provide excellent customer experience.
  7. Performance — Your product has to work adequately to help your client reach their goal successfully.
  8. Efficiency — Your product mustn’t prove time-consuming for your customers, or it will result in low customer satisfaction.
  9. Compatibility — Compatibility reflects how well your product performs alongside other products your loyal customer already owns.

Service Needs

Service needs entail catering to your customer’s emotions. Having reliable customer support teams, for example, is an excellent way to cater to your consumers. Here are some of the factors you should keep in mind to provide your consumers with the best experience possible.

  1. Empathy — Your customer service has to be empathic and understanding toward the consumer to provide the best experience possible.
  2. Fairness — Everything from prices, contacts, shipping details, and similar has to be fair toward the consumer.
  3. Control — Customers have to be in control throughout the purchasing process.
  4. Options — Your need to provide a variety of options and not force customers in an either-or situation.
  5. Information — If your communication with your consumers is lacking, they will be more likely to give up halfway through the customer buying process or never return.
  6. Accessibility — As a business, you need to provide swift and easy ways for customers to communicate their problems. If you don’t, it will just frustrate them and likely make them leave if they come across any issues.

Now that you’re aware of all the needs you have to pay attention to, it’s time to address our original question! Let’s learn how to identify customer needs and wants!

How to Identify Customer Needs and Wants

When it comes to identifying and meeting customer needs, we have to take an empirical approach. Here are some of the best methods of pinpointing your customers’ needs:

Customer Interviews

Holding customer interviews and gathering testimonials are some of the most reliable ways of collecting and assessing consumer feedback. These often provide the most extensive replies and allow you to gain insight into the faults of your product or services.

Focus Groups 

These groups provide specific information about your products or services because they are constructed around one particular focal point, product, or service. That makes them most effective at more targeted research than other entries on our list.

Surveys

This format is the easiest to distribute, so it is one of the most used online data collection methods. You can create one in a few simple steps in Google Forms or even make a poll on social media platforms like Facebook. However, if you want it to gather highly targeted and specific information, you must be extremely careful when putting it together.

Social Listening

Social listening entails actively following your social media accounts and social mentions. By doing that, your brand can get insight into how your products are received and how they fit your consumers’ expectations.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most popular ways of researching customer intent nowadays. Simultaneously, it is one of the easiest ones because all you need is a keyword research tool and Google Trends data! Oh, and you should put yourself into your consumers’ shoes. Think about what someone looking for your products would type in Google and begin from there.

After you’ve gathered all the data and successfully identified your customers’ needs and wants, it’s time to meet them!

How to Meet Customer Needs

After collecting all the data you need, it’s time to analyze your findings and focus on meeting your customers’ needs. Depending on how big the disparity between your current services and your results is, you might need to dedicate a few people or an entire team to this. Anyhow, you should follow these four steps during the process to make it as smooth as possible:

  1. Identify — This step entails what we’ve already touched upon above — identifying your customers’ needs.
  2. Distribute — Distribute the results of your research to relevant departments and stakeholders within your company.
  3. Create — Get together and strategize, brainstorm, and design. Make a new product or introduce a new service that aligns with your customers’ needs and wants,
  4. Collect — Gather feedback on your new product’s performance and how well it fits your customers and move on from there.

As you might have noticed, this process is cyclical since you end it by gathering more data. And yes, you will have to do that every time. Staying on top of your game is imperative for any marketer out there, and always collecting more data is essential to your brand’s success and staying in touch with your customers’ needs.

There’s one last thing we should cover before we leave you to your research! Let us give you a few things to watch out for while looking to identify your customers’ needs and wants.

5 Things to Keep Track of When Looking to Meet Your Customers’ Needs

Quality customer research is essential to succeeding in any market, so here are five points that you mustn’t miss out on while researching!

Customer Demographics

No marketing campaign can begin without thorough market research. Some of the most valuable metrics for any marketer are customer demographics, so that is the first thing you should focus your attention on. These help you better understand what kind of people you are targeting, making it easier to adapt your strategy accordingly. Here are some of the factors you will find invaluable on your journey:

  • Location
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Interests
  • Occupation

Why They Shop

How do you expect to get into your potential customers’ shoes if you don’t ask yourself why they’re buying your products? That’s right — you won’t. So answering this question is essential to gaining a better understanding of your consumers’ needs and how to adapt to them. 

Where They Shop

The “where” is just as essential as the “why.” Today, we live in a digital world where everything is accessible online, and many consumer habits changed because of it. That’s why you must learn whether your customers prefer purchasing products online or in physical stores. It would be pointless to focus on improving your retail part of the business if most of your sales come from your website!

Spending Habits

Knowing how your audience likes to spend and how often will make it much easier to tailor your strategy to their habits. Here are a few pieces of information that could help you get a better picture of your customers’ spending habits:

  • Their income.
  • The portion of their income they spend on your products and services.
  • Are they big spenders or they like to budget.

Once you collect this data, all you have to do is adapt your strategy accordingly! If your audience predominantly consists of big spenders, putting out more products with lower production quality might be a sound choice. On the other hand, the thriftier consumers are more likely to make a single big spend on a high-quality product than buying frequently.

Customer Feedback

We’ve already mentioned this point before, but it’s worth repeating. You must keep tabs on customer feedback to track their satisfaction if you wish to keep growing your business. Dissatisfied customers are a slippery slope that can quickly lead to your demise. There are a few points, in particular, you should research:

  • What they think of your products.
  • What their opinion on your customer service is.
  • If they like any of your competitors better.

Depending on the results, you can focus on improving the necessary aspects of your business.

A Happy Customer Is a Paying Customer!

Keeping your customers happy is essential for your brand to prosper, and identifying their needs and wants is the first step toward that goal! So remember to take it step by step. Begin by identifying their needs, which types of needs you must work on, and things like their spending habits, where and why they shop, and the customer demographics. After that, you can focus your efforts on meeting their needs by creating products that will comply with your research results!

All you have to do now is get started! So what are you waiting for? Start researching, and good luck!

If you are interested in more reading material on similar topics, may we suggest checking our articles on the video sales funnel or how videos increase sales? We’re positive you’ll like them!

Until next time!

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