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Customer Discovery Beyond Demographics

Published Friday, May 22, 2020

Are you meeting the needs of your customers right now? The problems of our customers are not stagnant and need to be rediscovered. Knowing who your customer is, will help you make decisions about how to reach and serve them. 

When Juliana Casavan led her Customer Discovery workshop, she started with the basic. When we create a primary customer avatar, it’s natural to lean heavily on the information we do know: end-user, demographic, and geographic information. 

“My primary customer is a 24-35-year-old married woman with significant disposable income. Oh, and she usually lives on the East or West Coast of the USA.” 

The problem with stopping here is that you lose the nuance of what makes people unique. Not every 30-year-old married woman in Los Angeles thinks the same way! To get a true look into your customer’s psyche, you also need to dig into their psychographic and behavioral patterns. 

Casavan brought up another element many forget to consider: there’s almost never just one person involved in decision-making. Yes, there’s an end-user, but there are also the influencers/saboteurs, economic buyer, and the decision-maker.

Casavan walked through this with the example of purchasing a laptop for a college student. 

The end-user (the person who uses the product) is obviously the college student. But how does a laptop get into their hands before starting freshman year? 

There is almost certainly a cadre of influencers and saboteurs (people around the buyer who influence the purchasing decision in a positive or negative way). For the average 18-year-old, this is likely to be a friend who loves the aesthetics of their flexible, touchscreen Lenovo laptop, their favorite YouTuber who swears by Apple products, or maybe an older sibling that’s already in college. 

Next, we factor in the economic buyer. It may be the college student but it’s very likely that it’s a parental figure. Unfortunately, parents worldwide are only rarely swayed to spend an extra thousand to get the high-end option their kid so desires. In this case, the end-user is important but not the only person we need to focus our efforts on. 

Finally, there's the decision-maker. With this laptop, this could be a joint decision by parents and the end-user college student. Or it could be a unilateral decision by either, depending on their relationship and financial dynamics. 

Not every transaction will be this complicated - there are significantly more people in the decision-making process for a pricey laptop versus a $15 t-shirt. That being said, successful businesses of all kinds will dig deep to find out who else sways their sales. 

Moving beyond a customer avatar based around demographic and geographic data will help you home your marketing and better reach the clients you actually want and need.

Fellow members:

Revisioning the concept of traditional work environments and moving to a collaborative space has been an amazing opportunity for our organization to remain engaged with our constituents and expand our connections in the community.

—Kitty Campbell

"MatchBOX is helping my company (One Fact) survive and prosper. The affordable space is only the start. It is the connection with the other co-coworkers that is proving helpful. MatchBOX gets a share of credit for any success One Fact sees in 2017!”

—Cortland Starrett

MatchBOX is where I met some of my newest best friends, Amanda, Emily, Matt, Ed, and sometimes Ryan. It's conveniently located near Kathy's candies and a bunch of places to get drinks during lunch. Could use a couple more Pokestops though.

<3 Austin Toombs

MatchBOX has provided an incredible opportunity for getting my work done, collaborating with others (at least 4 projects so far), hosting meetings for organizations I'm part of, and meeting other independent contractors in the area. The feel and ambience of the place just adds to the fabulous workplace -- not to mention the coffee and snacks! I have friends around the country who are jealous of our MatchBox space.

—Johanna Merritt Wu

My Enactus Purdue team got a tour of this studio recently. The environment is outstandingly innovative! Everyone there is incredibly friendly and hospitable and passionate about what they are doing. What a great place to see opportunity in the city of Lafayette!

—Acaimie Catron (from Facebook)

There is such a positive, creative vibe to this space. I participated in Lafayette Writers' Studio events and classes at MatchBOX fall, 2016. It is easy to access, convenient to downtown Lafayette and parking is not difficult in its area of town.

—Sandra B. (from Yelp)