How Anticipating Consumer Behavior Can Make or Break Your Business

September 21, 2016
Plan ahead for changes in consumer behavior to succeed in business, Fishbowl BlogA successful business starts with identifying the right audience in which to market your products or services. And while this target market is key to your success, you must also select a segment that is large enough to sustain your business, whether you’re catering to a specific gender, income group or lifestyle. But you must also be able to gauge your consumers’ actions by using some of the available tools and properly interpreting the results. The following are some ways you can better anticipate your customers’ actual behaviors, which can mean the difference between success and failure.

Educate Yourself About Consumers

The best way to understand your user base is by studying it through research. But all the tools in the world won’t help you unless you have a thorough understanding of the nuances and dynamics of consumer behavior. One way to bridge this gap is with a master’s applied behavior analysis degree from, say, the University of Cincinnati. This type of education will help you better understand many components of human behavior so you can see the big picture and get consumers to buy from you.

Meeting Their Needs

While you can develop and grow a loyal customer base, they will react to other new products and features on the market. That’s why you must identify their exact needs. Start by differentiating actual and perceived needs, according to the McGraw-Hill’s “Consumer Behavior: Building Marketing Strategy.” For example, a person needs a car but not necessarily with all the bells and whistles they can think of. Determine the features they truly need, then design your products around them. Your business success is contingent on this basic principle.

Use the Best Methodologies

Through education, you’ll learn how to employ the best methodologies to better understand your consumers. For example, focus groups and one-on-ones may help you narrow specific concepts down, while you can better predict consumer behavior with more quantitative techniques: phone or internet surveys. You can also use forecasting features in an inventory management solution to plan ahead for changes in demand.

Predicting Behavior

When conducting consumer research, ask questions that will better help you predict future behavior. One way to accomplish that is by running small test markets for your products, where you can track trial and obtain consumer feedback. More specifically, ask “how likely” people are to repurchase your products and use those responses to gauge future actions.

Use the Research

Analyze the results of all research studies and use those findings to develop marketing strategies that will increase sales and profits. Add the features, styles, sizes, scents or flavors consumers want, depending on the type of products you offer. Understanding your consumers and providing them with what they want is the key to running and maintaining a successful business. Learn the research techniques that work and start applying them regularly. As you implement these practices, you’ll better understand how to meet the needs of your buyers.