This post is part of a “Blog Carnival” that’s being hosted by Tea Silvestre from The Word Chef Blog. The theme of the carnival is “Building Business Relationships” it’s part of a series of posts on the subject from a variety of small business experts.
I can’t believe I’m going to write another article on market segments or target markets. But I HAVE to because I just noticed that most of us aren’t getting it right.
I was reading a business book just now that referenced Wal-Mart’s original target market as “People living paycheck to paycheck.” This isn’t a very complicated thing. That’s what makes it so powerful.
It’s only five words! And yet, there is something so real, so visual, so emotional, so visceral about those five words. You already have an immediate sense of who these people are, what they want for their family and for themselves. What their daily habits, challenges and delights might be.
The challenge for many of us seems to be in profiling our customers in these simple terms. Sometimes I wonder if our default to fancy demographic language “Men between the ages of 35 and 45 who wear glasses” makes us THINK that we are being more precise when we are actually being entirely too vague.
Another obstacle or challenge is that you might think you have to get to that simple, single sentence profile the first time around. maybe you will. Maybe this article will be enough to have the profile just pop right out. But maybe it won’t. You might have to do some “noodling” or thinking about this. You might — heaven forbid – have to spend a few minutes, hours, days or months actually thinking about your customer and what their life might be like as it surrounds your product or service.
Embrace the Exercise
I say embrace the exercise. Decide to be CURIOUS about who your customer really is and what their life is like. Simply decide to pay attention, spend time with them and actually observe what’s going on there. Give yourself the freedom to notice the little things about who they are outside their interaction with your product. You will be amazed at what you discover.
Your Ideal Customer Profile Checklist
Here’s a quick how-to list that will get you started. This is by no means the best method to do this. I haven’t included every possible question and I don’t claim that this will give you the profile you’re seeking. But it will certainly get your brain started in the right direction.
Remember, for Wal-Mart to get to the fact that their target market is “living paycheck to paycheck” they would have to know some personal things about them. They might know that their pre-teen daughter loves Miley Cyrus but they can’t afford concert tickets so they get products with Hannah Montana stuff on it.
Tell me about how you’ve been profiling your customers. Got any tips or tricks to share?
This post is part of the The Word Chef Blog Blog Carnival hosted by Tea Silvestre. Join us for a fun and informative 1-hour Tweet Chat about Finding your Ideal Customer, Thursday, September 29 7pm Eastern / 4 pm Pacific. #WordCarnival
Name: Ivana S. Taylor
About: Ivana Taylor is the publisher of DIYMarketers.com – an online marketing publication that provides marketing strategies that help entrepreneurs and business owners get and keep profitable customers. She is the DIY Marketing expert and book editor for Small Business Trends and a contributing author to AMEX Open Forum. Her strategic consulting firm, Third Force specializes in helping companies find their best customers and be the one they choose – regardless of price. Ivana is the co-author of Excel for Marketing Managers. You can find her on Twitter as @DIYMarketers.