Key to Survival in 2012? Get Tight with Customers

Knowing What Customers-and Competitors-Are Thinking, Doing, and Planning Is Key

SPARTANBURG, S.C., January 17, 2012 – Economic prognosticators are sounding a bit more upbeat these days. The job market is up. The housing and construction sectors are showing signs of life. Business sales and profits are firming up. Feeling more secure, consumers actually spent money during the holidays.

Even with these positive signs, the pathway to business success in 2012 remains cloudy due to today’s complex business environment that provides mountains of data, but little or no relevant interpretation or insight. So what’s a business to do?

South Carolina-based consulting firm Priority Metrics Group is advising its clients to “get tight with customers” and learn exactly what customers are thinking, doing and planning. Without this knowledge, says Priority Metrics Group CEO John Barrett, companies will operate in the dark, which can spell doom.

“In the boom years of the 1990s and mid 2000s, companies could make broad assumptions and still enjoy reasonable growth. Now, however, with tight financial markets and consumers and companies slowly easing back into activity, competitors are scrambling for the same hard-to-find growth opportunities. Whether you’re selling a service or a product, you must do everything you can to maximize your potential for growth. The only way to reliably do so is to align with customers’ present and future needs,” says Barrett.

Priority Metrics Group helps companies achieve tighter alignment with customers through an in-depth research and analysis process it calls PMG Customer Insight™. More advanced than customer satisfaction studies of the past, a PMG Customer Insight study includes a customer needs assessment, evaluation of industry conditions and outlook, and a detailed picture of competitive performance. Qualitative and quantitative data discern how well clients align with their customers, pinpointing negative gaps to overcome, positive gaps to leverage, and opportunities to capitalize. Competitive threats and vulnerabilities are also identified.

Barrett says clients are often surprised to learn where they actually stand with customers even in cases where there is regular communication between the two organizations. “Perception and reality are very different things. Companies that rely on casual and informal observations from sales or customer service personnel or that have long-term contracts can get out of step with customers quickly,” Barrett explains.

“Companies are making decisions differently than in the past. Suppliers aren’t always privy to information about market expansions and pullbacks, sales of locations or divisions, and employee layoffs. Those that don’t see these things coming take a hit and won’t recover,” he continues.

In tight economic times, budgets are a barrier to market research. However, part of the blame for research aversion rests with market researchers who thrust piles of data on clients and consider the job done. Priority Metrics Group’s Customer Insight study includes actionable analysis that supports strategic plans based on data rather than assumptions.

Closer alignment between customers and suppliers is advantageous for both, says Barrett. “Everyone is looking for a competitive advantage in 2012. The old adage, knowledge is power, has never been more true. Get tight with your customers before it’s too late. Quality research and analysis will tell you what you need to know.”

About Priority Metrics Group

Priority Metrics Group, Inc., is a professional marketing consulting firm based in Spartanburg, S.C. The firm provides customized research, analysis and consultation services designed to generate profitable growth for clients. PMG works with leading organizations in a variety of manufacturing and service industries, including packaging, logistics, chemicals, industrial supplies, construction materials, and healthcare. Visit www.pmgco.com.

John Barrett: [email protected]

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