Market Visits- Understanding Customer Behaviour

Posted in Marketing & Strategy Articles, Total Reads: 839 , Published on 16 June 2013

Marketing is all about understanding customer needs and giving them products or services which fulfill a gap of the individuals needs. Promotion, branding, new product development, advertising all play a pivotal role in ensuring the brand impacts the prospective customers mind. However, one of the most important factor in understanding the customer behaviour before a product launch as well as to see the performance of a particular product is visiting the market place and directly getting a feedback.

CEO's, Product Heads, Branding managers etc all take critical decisions sitting with statistical tools, data and marketing reports with regard to product launches, advertising, brand-positioining etc. But the real business happens in the market place where the customers are in contact with either retailers or sales people. Thus, it is essential that even the top management play an equal importance to visiting markets where their products and services reach, so as to have a better understanding about the customer's perception about the brand.

Some of the critical insights that are generally observed are as below:

1. Brand perception: For every company, their brand is the best with scope of improvement. There is a general feeling that a collective well-thought out decision by the management would reap benefits. However, it is utmost important how the customers percieves the brand and what value proposition the consumer is seeking.

2. Product performance: Market visits help in understanding how actually the products are performing. If the products are doing fine, then their presence can be leveraged. However, quick action against under-performing products can help in regaining lost ground in front of disappointed customers

3. Customer complaints: Most often, the retailers and the sales people are the once who get a critical feedback about the products and services. And sometimes despite escalating the issues for rectification, no major action is taken to improve customer experience. Hence, a first-time look by the top management help them crack these issues by visiting the markets at the primary level.

4. Competitor Activity: One of the most important insights that can be take out from market visits is how the competitors are trying to tap the customers in a specific geography or market scenario. This not only propells the management to come up with new innovations but helps in improving the decaying processes and services.

5. Marketing Communication: In areas where business is maximum, it is necessary to have proper marketing communication. This is because in some cases even if customer specific products are there, and there is less awareness among customers and retailers, it is a lost opportunity to the company. Hence, going to various rural as well as urban centres helps in broadening the scope and horizon of thought for the decision makers.

The top management takes decisions of millions of dollars, and approve the acceptance or decline of certain strategic decisions regarding the company's products and services. But it is critical to understand the basic market through market visits as it is actually where the customer brings business and understanding customer behaviour is always the first step fulfilling their needs.


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