Knowledge on the Consumer as a Differentiation Strategy

To set ourselves apart from the competition we must understand the behaviours and motivations of our clients. It is not a question of just asking them what they need, considering that we generally say something different to what we actually do. For example, a textile company that wants to establish ¨ the color of the month ¨ for their products, should not go about asking their clients ¨ which is your favorite color? ¨ since the answer that you might get is simply ¨ red ¨, even though no one would actually buy a red colored shirt.

Why does this happen? We do not live in a world where everything is done literally, the answers do not apply to everything, they tend to depend on the context more than anything else, we generally say what we think but not what we do, moreover it is a usual behaviour for us not to have a clear reason for acting in a certain way. Considering this we must always look for the implicit aspects of the answers that we get and not just conform with the literal acceptance of the data that we receive. In the above mentioned example the company needs to understand what evokes the red color in their customers, why is it their favourite, and by doing so they would be able to design clothing that is in tune with the sensations of their clients. 

We as companies have to understand our clients considering the context in which they are submerged in, carefully observing the relation that they have with their products and their sales force, learning to read their gestures, their attitudes even the way they look at their surroundings, so as to be able to anticipate their real needs and answers, which in some occasions they are not capable of identifying by themeselves.

To achieve this it is necessary to put yourself in the place of your client, ¨ playing ¨ at being your client so as to acquire a different perspective of his or her needs. Investing sufficient time exploring about your client in order to understand who accompanies the purchase process and has influence in the desicion making, how much is the client willing to pay?, what they expect to receive in return?, what is the frequency of the purchases?. These and many other questions are key in understanding our clients and establishing strategies in accordance to their needs.

This is not about a check list that can be run by all companies and their commercial spaces without considering their specific characteristics. It is precisely about the contrary, it is about standing out by means of customization, the authenticity we show in the manner we provide attention to our clients, by making them feel special, but also by placing the products in specific ways in accordance to the profile of the client, considering that a commercial space used for the sale of products for children is not the same as another space destined for teenage clients or adults, each one has a different way of going about buying their products. In this line of thought the relationship with the client is similar to a romantic relationship, it is not possible to inspire love in all men or women by doing the same things, it is necessary to understand the particulars of each one in order to define the strategies and tactics of approach and conquest. 

In the poem of Benedetti which bears the same name ( Tactics and Strategy ), the ultimate goal is that one day the person who has been chosen to be loved may one day need that person who is trying to win their love, a purpose shared by companies which are seeking to create links with their customers to obtain their loyalty. Nobody has said that it is an easy process, it needs to travel a long path of understanding that can be initiated by following three of the tactics employed by  Benedetti: Watch to learn, speak and listen, and finally, to remain in the memory no matter the pretext.