Once you have identified what you need to know about your customers you can start gathering the information together. There is a huge amount of market information available that you can tap into. Much of that information is available free of charge and is readily available. For example, your customer records will tell you which customers have purchased from you, what they purchased, when they placed their orders and how much and how often they buy.
If your current data doesn’t provide you with the information you need, it is often worth asking customers directly. You can do this in face-to-face or telephone interviews, online surveys or in group discussions.
Other sources of free customer information include:
- business contacts
- local business reference libraries
- your local authority, Business Link or Chamber of Commerce
- the internet
- UK Trade & Industry for information on export markets
If you can’t find the information you require from these free sources, you might decide to buy the information you require. There is a huge amount of commercially published information that you can purchase direct from market information publishers. Alternatively, you might decide to employ a market research agency or freelance researcher to get the information you need. It can be more cost-effective to use the services of a professional, although you will need to ensure you draw up a clear brief and budget.