Understanding your clients’ wants and needs is often a priority for research and development teams and your sales force. However, granular knowledge of your clients from a marketing perspective has become a benchmark for companies in a variety of industries. The foundation of client relationship management is a thorough knowledge of your clients’ behaviours and attitudes and this approach allows companies to differentiate themselves from competitors. As new challengers in a particular client market come in with similar services or products, it’s important for business owners to recognize where they can improve by identifying gaps in their offerings. And this isn’t a matter of small change. According to recent research performed by consumer analytics firm Accenture, there is potential for $2.4 trillion in growth between 2012 and 2016 for companies that recognize the importance of consumer behaviour because client markets are growing, especially in emerging economies.

One of the most important factors to consider is understanding client behaviours online. According to the Accenture study, 62 percent of consumer in the emerging markets indicated they are more likely to increase the amount of time they devote to interacting with businesses through online platforms, including email, social media and organizational websites.

Overcome Challenges to Client Knowledge
Peter Stock, senior manager at PwC Exordia, told ITWeb there are obvious obstacles in getting a complete understanding of customers. Specifically because there is so much data and information that clients provide through online and mobile channels, businesses can often feel burdened when they don’t have the necessary infrastructure to handle it. As digital touch points increase in number and complexity, you have more opportunities to understand which channels they prefer and how they use each of them. Stock explained the consumer journey isn’t a straightforward process and clients have a variety of options to get information.

For instance, PwC research found 93 percent of consumers refer to a search engine for their first search for information, while another 70 percent look to customer reviews for a trustworthy source of information when making purchasing decisions. This information reflects how companies can manage relationships with their clients through digital channels. The marketing resource Fast Company explained how many companies adhere to a model that essentially advertises the benefits of a particular product or service while ignoring what these offering do for the actual client. Businesses need to work to demonstrate how a product responds directly to their wants and needs, and in doing so they can create effective client relationship management efforts. Instead of being a partnership based purely on transactions, providing services that are developed specifically for clients’ needs will allow a company to extend a more effective solution.

Act on Client Insights
Think about the way Samsung has developed its products and services that directly address its target client base, Fast Company emphasized. While Apple has largely been recognized as the leader in the mobile phone industry, Samsung has quickly gained ground and has outsold the iOS-based technology maker. How? It understands its sizable Asian customer market benefits from a language input system that allows for handwriting. Although consumers are still able to use a traditional keyboard, the handwriting system allows for a more convenient way that consumers can use to communicate with. It also doesn’t hurt that Samsung’s phones run at a fraction of the costs of Apple’s offering, which again responds to the attitudes and needs of their clients.

To be a leader in your industry, it’s important to maintain perspective on your prospective clients while at the same time understanding your current client base. You want to continuously consider how you can improve your client relationship management and create unique touchpoints to engage your prospects and clients. Is there an opportunity to leverage technology to recognize and actively address changes in your clients’ behavior? Can you utilize these insights to develop a more seamless experience for your clients?

How are you using LinkedIn and social media to help build your business and expand your circles of influence? Do you focus on getting your name out there, or are you taking a back seat when it comes to self-promotion? Don’t hold back any longer, examine your marketing activities calendar to identify areas where you create more opportunities to reach, nurture, acquire and engage your clients and prospects.