Some businesses spend a good deal of marketing dollars and energy figuring out who their customers are, what they desire, how much they are willing to spend, how satisfied they are, how they can be retained, and other key indicators. This is very useful information, of course, but consider that knowing a little more about your customers can also be very informative.
For example, where are your customers when they’re not doing business with you? That is, where do they spend their money and time? What other establishments do they visit? Where do they shop? With whom do they consult, or from whom do they receive services? One way to approach this is to identify complementary businesses that may appeal to the same customer demographic as your business.
Consider this scenario: a jewelry story forms an alliance with a boutique clothing store located in the same shopping mall. They can combine and hold an open house for customers, showcasing the latest products and accessories, and they can display those new items in both stores—driving business from one to the other. There are many creative ways that businesses catering to the same customer groups can leverage their strengths together.
Professor of Management
Director, Center for Creativity & Innovation
DePaul University, Chicago
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