creative haberdashery

Crowd surfing for target customers

crowd-surfingI’ll bet you know someone who says with complete confidence:

I don’t need a target customer. My customer is everyone who _____.

Ah . . . but it doesn’t matter if your customer is everyone who golfs, everyone who reads, or even everyone who eats. You need a focused target customer strategy so you can avoid weak brand messaging and take advantage of repeat impressions. Your target customer is the ultimate audience for your brand story. These are your raving fans, your brand ambassadors, the recruiters of more brand fans. And we all know the crazy great power of the genuine advertising that comes from one consumer to another.

Why so many of us fail to accurately target customers

The common denominators that bring so many business owners to the “my customer is everyone” conclusion are worry and knowledge. We worry that targeting one customer type will alienate another. We know our products inside and out. We know and worry about our competition. And that’s exactly what gets in the way of stand-out messaging:

  • Worrying about alienating one customer type may mean you’re not focused on anybody
  • Knowing all about your product may mean the details are overshadowing a simpler message
  • Knowing your competition may mean you’ll spend valuable time thinking about what they’re doing, rather than what you’re doing

Drilling down to a targeted customer message

In the customer targeting process, you need to forget your worries and your knowledge. Just put them on a shelf for now and go with the premise that you’ll never have to worry about alienating a customer, showcasing detailed product knowledge or considering the competition.

Now, drill down to a common need, something marketing gurus call a “pain point.” Do this by eliminating all the obstacles in your way. Forget what you know about your product. Clear away all the things you know about your customers and competition. Think only about why your product relieves pain points.

Warning:  If you hear yourself saying “But, that won’t work because ______,” you’ve gone off-roading. Get back on the autobahn, my friend.

Here’s an example of how the process might work if you had an unlikely business that sold both auto detailing and personal cosmetics.

Cosmetic CustomersAuto Detailing Customers
My customers want our cosmetics because we have the latest colors. >Why?My customers want our auto detailing because we do precise work. >Why?
Because they want to be in style. >Why?Because they want to be proud of their cars. >Why?
Because they want to look good. >Ah ha.

Obviously, this is a grossly oversimplified example of the target customer process, but it gets to the salient point: target what your customers have in common, not what makes them different, and your brand story will be off to a solid start.

Want to chat? Share ideas? Hire a partner for your next brand projects? Get in touch.

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cindi acker-hein

cindi acker-hein

writer + creative partner
I love my work: teaming up with awesome creatives. Word nerdery. Problem solving. Simplifying. Intelligenting. Learning. Seeking FTA, SOH, PR.Read more...


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