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Getting to know your customers

Whether you call them ‘customers’, ’clients’, ‘guests’, ’patrons’ or ‘members’, this group is the lifeblood of your business. Really knowing and understanding those customers who support your business and contribute to your revenue, is critical for business success.

We met David Wemyss-Smith of Manyung Gallery Group, a man of many talents. His long and varied career has always had a customer-centric approach. He is passionate about people and knows that, regardless of your business type, you cannot deliver quality customer service or exceed customer expectations if you don’t know your customers.  Without happy customers, there is no business.

We asked him to reveal his top insights on how to really get to know your customer. David shared with us:

1. Accumulate basic knowledge about your customer

Some businesses operate without accumulating knowledge of their customers….are you one? Just taking an order, wrapping a purchase and receiving an EFT is never enough. Every sales occasion is another opportunity to build, even the simplest, ‘database’ on a customer. Their name, email address, postcode and hopefully mobile number is the start of a basic customer record.

Building a profile on what each customer likes/buys, spends, provides essential data for your future dealings with them.

2. Create segments

There is great benefit in identifying different customer types……time to start segmenting. This simply means breaking customers into defined groupings. Whether it be a list of higher spending VIP’s, those who tend to regularly buy a certain style of product or service, or those that refer others to your business. Without intruding on their privacy, consider starting to record basic information on your customers and determine which market segment/profile they belong in. Adding in sales data means you can start to build a picture of who they are and what they like.

Use the segments to progressively tune your service or product to each segment’s specific needs. This is very important for targeted relationship building.

3. Tailor your marketing

Now you have a database and know a little more about your customers, it’s time to talk to them – in ways they want to hear from you. You may get to know that some will respond to text message communications whereas others will keep in touch through Instagram or email invitations.

As you get to know your customers, their preferences and purchasing history, you can develop targeted communications designed to appeal to a segment. For example, some customers may be attracted to ‘On Sale’ items whereas another group will be more interested in new products and seasonal launches.

Use ‘different strokes for different folks’ – adopt tailored social media and marketing communications for different customer profiles.

4. Tap into your insights

There are large downsides of not knowing your customers well enough. Start addressing them today!

  • Good customer knowledge is critical so you can communicate how you are adapting your products or services [developed for them], to changes and trends unfolding in the market.
  • Without knowing your customer, your hard-earned promotional dollars can be mis-directed and wasted.
  • Your bank needs reassurance that you really understand your business and recognise your customers as key stakeholders who underpin your success.
  • Improved customer knowledge can be used to realign your business strategy, identifying product development opportunities, or issues such as opening hours that might not best service the real needs and convenience of your time poor customers.

If there are issues, you can use your database to efficiently communicate updates. Very important if you want to tell people you are able to reopen if you have been shut down!

5. Building a valuable asset

Having built a great local brand, with a settled team, a formal business plan, and a history of past performance and projected activity, is really important when you are promoting your business for sale. But what underpins everything is a supportive, customer base that is well informed and loyal. You [and the new owner will], communicate well with them because you know exactly who they are, how to ‘talk’ to them, which of your service or product groups they prefer, how they like to be treated and when they are likely to respond to a particular marketing initiative or event.

Selling your business?  A segmented customer list, with historical data is essential and adds great value.


Meet our Local Expert: David Wemyss-Smith – Manyung Gallery Group

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David Wemyss-Smith is the Director of Manyung Gallery Group. Established in 1968, it is one of Australia’s largest and longest running contemporary art businesses. David’s marketing experiences across management roles in multi-national, large Australian and as the owner of his own businesses for over thirty years, underpins his contribution to managing Manyung. Strategy and thinking outside the square are David’s strong points which contribute to Manyung Gallery Group’s successful, unique and diversifying business model.

Content reviewed and updated November 2023

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