The role of marketing in an organization today is significantly changing. It is no longer enough to “push” a product or service at a customer, believing it will meet that individual's needs because that customer fits into a certain demographic. I might, for example, purchase a printer for my computer so I can print e-mail messages and business documents, whereas someone else might purchase it to print digital photos for a scrapbook. Both of us might be of a similar age and have a similar income and education, but clearly this information is not enough to ascertain how each of us will use the printer.

Likewise, knowing which magazines a consumer subscribes to, which TV shows they watch, and what kinds of car-care or cleaning products they purchase doesn't really tell you the whole story either. It is, therefore, critical that marketers understand customer needs on a deeper level, based on what motivates customers to make certain choices; marketers must understand the underlying drivers of customer behavior.

To achieve this deeper understanding of the needs of each customer, marketers are finding it necessary to view their company, its products and services, and each place a customer “touches” their company from the customer's perspective.

Become a Customer Needs Expert

Marketers can no longer rely solely on traditional methods they've used in the past to understand customer needs. For example, focus groups used to give marketers an idea of customer ...

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