Who is your ideal customer?
This is a very important question.
One mistake many businesses make is trying to market and sell to everybody.
Understand that not everyone would derive the same value from your business.
Not everyone may be able to afford your service.
There are some people that do not need your service.
There may be some people even you do not want to work with.
Irrespective of the service or product you offer, for efficient and effective marketing, it is critical that you are crystal-clear on who your ideal buyer (client or customer) is.
If you sell premium products or services, marketing to everyone could lead to frustration. You will most likely get a lot of enquiries, but the moment you communicate the price, you simply wouldn’t hear from the ‘potential’ customer anymore.
On the other hand, if you sell commodity products or services (there is nothing wrong with this), a particular class of people will completely ignore your marketing activity.
Your marketing strategy will depend greatly on who your ideal customer is.
How to define your ideal customer
This definition is also called your buyer persona.
Defining a person
If you serve consumers directly, depending on your business, here are some things you could be required to define:
- Gender: Is gender important? Is your ideal customer a man or a woman?
- Age: Are you targeting a young, middle aged, or an elderly person?
- Location: Is this person based in a particular area?
- Marital Status: Are you targeting a single or married person?
- Financial status: What is the average income of your ideal customer?
- What is this person’s major challenge (relating to your service or product)?
The list above is not exhaustive, but you get the point.
Defining a business
If you serve businesses, here are some of the points you need to define:
- What is the nature of business?
- What industry do they function in?
- Must they have a minimum staff-strength?
- Are they based in a particular location?
- What’s the position or role of your ideal contact?
- Who is their ideal vendor? What are they looking for in who to work with?
- What is their main challenge (relating to your service or product)?
The list above is also not exhaustive.
A Case Study – CKDigital
Here is a sample case study using our own web design service at CKDigital.
The Contact Person
If we were to go to an organization to introduce ourselves (or run a digital marketing campaign), we wouldn’t want to talk to just anyone. The ideal contact would be:
- A decision maker (MD, CEO, brand manager, marketing manager, etc.)
We’ve defined the characteristics of companies we work with:
- A large- or mid-scale company or organization;
- A business duly registered by corporate affairs commission – LLC or PLC;
- Located anywhere in the world, but English-speaking.
Characteristics & Objectives
CKDigital’s ideal customer:
- sees a website as an absolute necessity;
- understands that a clean, professionally designed website will positively complement their brand and marketing activities;
- cares that their website meets global standards;
- most likely already has a website;
- wants to be perceived – or wants to reinforce position – as a trusted authority in her industry;
- appreciates the professionalism, and attention-to-detail required in all elements of branding.
Our ideal customer will also not work with a person or company simply because they can design websites. CKDigital’s ideal customer:
- requires structure – will not work with a freelancer, or a company without full capacity;
- requires experience – will not work with a beginner;
- requires a proven track record – will trust us based on the class of clients we have worked with.
A Sample Buyer Persona:
A sample communication from an ideal customer could look like this:
My name is Steve, the Marketing Manager of XYZ Nigeria Limited.We require a professional website that improves our brand image, positions us as a trusted authority, and creates a connection with potential clients.We want to work with a company with a proven track record, having has the structure, skills, and experience to deliver excellently.
Extra: What if you want to target multiple classes of people?
There are businesses that can ‘sell’ to different classes of customers, or businesses that offer both premium and commodity products and services. Defining and segmenting your audiences must be done very carefully so as not to confuse potential customers.
One way to achieve this to create separate brands that cater to the different audiences. For instance, while our ideal customer is an established business, we also created a separate division branded as (small business solutions) that serves startups and small businesses.
Many other businesses use this approach: For instance, in the automotive industry, according to an article on Consumer Reports:
- BMW owns: Mini and Rolls Royce.
- Fiat owns: Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Ferrari, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, Ram and SRT.
- General Motors owns: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC.
- Honda owns: Acura.
- Tata Motors (India) owns: Jaguar and Land Rover.
- Nissan owns: Infiniti. (Nissan, in turn, is owned by Renault.)
- Toyota Motor Company owns: Lexus, Scion, Daihatsu and Hino Motors, with a stake in Fuji Industries (Subaru’s parent company) and Isuzu.
- Volkswagen owns: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, and overseas-brands SEAT and Skoda.
The list goes on.
The key is to define your ideal audience, and then create individual branding and/or marketing campaigns for each audience.
This article has covered how to define your ideal customer. If you haven’t done this for your business, you need to start working on this right away. As mentioned earlier, this will make your marketing much more efficient and effective.
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