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Practicing Leading Edge Marketing - A Guide to Recognizing the Five Customer Types

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Every year the consumer spectrum grows more and more sophisticated in both their shopping habits and the way they interact with products and services. Each different type of customer requires a different outlook from sales, marketing, and customer support perspectives. This article will cover the five different types of customers allowing you to better understand how to tune the marketing message for your product.

The transactional customer is a sophisticated consumer who is willing to take part in transactions at any time in any location. This type of customer does not care if they must communicate with a particular device or platform, as long as it allows a certain amount of convenience.

The traditional customer is one who is at home with handling, maintaining and repairing products they've purchased. These types of consumers take no issue with ordering parts for a broken or malfunctioning product rather than calling in service or sending a product back to the manufacturer for free repair.

A conventional customer is one that is somehow involved in creating value of a product. This type of customer can often be found using and contributing to leading edge community websites such as Flickr. Flickr offers a photographic archiving service that comes alive when the customer (subscriber) takes part in the social functionality of the website.

The intentional customer is someone who would like to take part in the design of products they purchase. Examples of businesses that cater to intentional customers are those that allow any type of customization prior to shipping. Apple's iPod sales were stimulated by allowing intentional customers to choose a custom engraving on the back of their iPods prior to shipping.

Finally there is the radical customer. A radical customer is one that will take a product that is originally intended to solve one problem, and somehow use it to solve a completely new one. This may be as simple as changing the output of the product, or as complicated as creating an entirely new industry around an application. An example of a radical customer's influence on products is the small but enthusiastic extreme sport of snowmobile skimming. Here we have a product that was intended for use on the snow, but radical customers created a sport out of running them over open water.

Each of the customer types above has clear and different personal goals when they consider a product or service and should be marketed to and handled differently. By understanding each of these different types you can be more effective in tuning your customer service training and marketing message.

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