If you were to ask who your print customers are, chances are, you might be able to name one or two of your markets. While this is a decent start, why not expand on this by asking what you know about your employees, partners, and competitors? In order to determine what you actually know and what gaps you might have, write everything down. This process is called identifying personas in the marketing world.
In order to properly determine who our customers in the print world are, we need to ask ourselves: who are we communicating with, what our customers want, and what determines a positive interaction in our customers’ eyes. If you are using the Net Promoter Systems program, it’s important to ask who our promoters are and why they are promoters.
So you might be asking, how do you know if you are being relevant to a customers’ needs? The answer requires you to look beyond simply whether or not your customers are satisfied or not. For example, if you look at your sales and marketing, is it relevant to the customer profiles that you have in place? Do you have more than one customer profile, and can you explain what you have to offer to each customer profile? These are all questions that you should be able to answer with certainty.
Be careful that when you develop a customer profile to make sure you aren’t making any assumptions, however, which can be extremely dangerous. For example, it may be logical to assume that as a business professional who frequently travels, that I would prefer billing statements to be delivered to my email. However, I actually prefer paper statements to limit clutter and because I can manage them better. If a company does not provide me with the option for paper statements, then that is one potential lost customer.
A local franchise printer that I do business with is a great example of a well-developed customer profile. They understand that color quality is important to me, so they always double check the artwork, and if they do end up making a mistake, they will always fix it with no extra charge. They also know that I prefer paper billing statements and my preferred shipping method which makes me well satisfied with them, even if there may be cheaper alternatives elsewhere.
If you want to know more about your customers, it’s important to separate them into buyer and user personas, as well as partner, employee, and customer personas. An excellent tool to get started can be found at usability.gov, which also has persona templates.