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Building Customer Loyalty: Market by Customer Segment

March 12, 2015

Personalized service and segmentation marketing is one sure way to deliver a solid return on investment. Perhaps the best way to illustrate success in personal marketing is to look at one of the leaders of the pack.

This is part six in an eight-part series on building customer loyalty. Read part five.

Personalized service and segmentation marketing is one sure way to deliver a solid return on investment. Perhaps the best way to illustrate success in personal marketing is to look at one of the leaders of the pack. There is a national hotel chain that has won two Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards for its approach to service and customer satisfaction. To cultivate customer loyalty, they practice what they call “customer customization.”

A database of information is kept on customers’ prior visits and staff worldwide can access the information to anticipate the needs of returning guests and to initiate steps to ensure a high-quality experience. When you stay at this hotel and they anticipate when you like to have your coffee and newspaper in the morning, you can be sure that they’re earning your business for life!

There are lessons here that apply to small business owners. What do you know about your customers? And, how do you respond to their expressed or even unexpressed wishes? No matter what kind of business you have or what kind of product or service you provide, there are four ways to segment your customers: demographics, geography, behaviors and psychology.

Do the research – how old are your customers? What do they do for a living? How big are their families? Establishing profiles of your buyers will help you identify how they wish to interact with you.

Evaluate your customers by geography. If you’re a national small business, your customers in the Southwest may be quite different from those in New England. Customers can even vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.

Determine behaviors by evaluating the level of their product knowledge, usage and attitudes. New customers can become loyal ones if you know where to include them in your marketing cycle. Think about this in terms of an Apple store. Long-time, technically savvy customers feel at ease in the store using the technology and shopping for the latest iPhone or MacBook. A new customer feels equally at ease because of the helpful sales staff and Genius Bar where users can ask questions and get hands-on technical support.

Finally, evaluate your customers based on psychology. Think about your target customers’ lifestyle, values and personality. If you evaluate your customers based on these four categories, you can develop a profile or several profiles that help you get to the root of how to make the experience with your business more personal and rewarding for them – and earn their trust in return.

Next: Create ambassadors

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