If you don't have a written description of your target customers, or you do but aren't referring to them regularly- you aren't alone. Whilst defining your customers is one of the most important steps of every marketing strategy, a lot of marketing managers I speak with really struggle with it. So we've developed a way that makes it much easier.
Before we get stuck in. In this article I'm talking about businesses who want to expand their market share or launch a new product into their existing market. The approach for a new market will need to be a bit different.
If your business has very different markets it operates in, with different types of decision makers for each market you’ll want to go through this for each market.
Why do people find customer personas difficult?
I find that when I ask the question the marketing managers and directors usually get started and define a customer. They then think of another type of customer that doesn't quite fit the description. Then another and so it goes on. More often than not they end up saying that their customers are all different and it is really difficult to describe them. Have you experienced that? I have to admit, I have done the same when going through the process for my business. I found that as every customer is important to me and I didn't want to miss anything. So I started to think of more and more customer profiles that I needed. The risk with this approach is that you’ll end up with too many profiles which makes it much harder to target your marketing message.
How do you avoid the confusion?
You need to focus on your best customer.
Identifying your best customer may take a bit of time - is your best customer the one who spends the most, the one you get the best results for, the one that is easiest to work with or you do your best work for? When you worked that out, select your best customer.
Describe your best customer
Have you chosen a company or a person? If you have chosen a company write down the main decision maker and also the main people involved in the decision on your services.
Remember you'll be marketing to a person not a company.
If you've started with a person, you'll want to write down the company they work for and the other people involved in the decision (that’s if you are working in B2B, if you are B2C then the person will be fine).
You'll need to focus again on who the most important person to describe is. At LexisClick we deal day to day with marketing managers, whilst the ultimate decision is more often than not made by a senior director of the business.
However, for us it is the marketing manager who is the most important decision maker. They will select the shortlist of the companies they want to work with, will work with us day to day and will be responsible for the results we deliver.
So we'd spend our time describing the marketing manager at our best customer.
How to create a customer profile - start by writing down:
- Their name
- Their role
- What they enjoy about their job
- What frustrates them in their job
- Why do they do what they do
- How did they get to where they are
- What do they really want to do
- What they are most proud of
- What are their targets
- What are their goals
- What are their challenges
- What are common questions they have
- What do they think of you
- What are their doubts about you
- What do they most like about your service
- What frustrates them about your service
- How do you help them achieve their goals and overcome their challenges
- How can you help them more
- Who do they respect and admire
If you're a B2B marketer you'll next want to look at the company
- Who are they
- What industry sector are they in
- What is their size
- Where are they in their market
- What are their goals and ambitions
- Where is their expertise
- What are they like to for
- What are they like to work with
- What is their structure
- What is their decision making structure and process
Who else is involved in the decision making process?
You've looked at the main decision maker and company, now you want to look at the other people involved in the decision.
- Who are they
- What is their role in the business
- What is their role in the decision
- What are they protecting
- What are their main objections to what you are selling
- What do they need proof of to overcome their objections
Define your ideal customer
I believe that when marketing it is best to define and target your ideal customer. This will gives you the focus you need to really get your message hitting the sweet spot. It is more of your ideal clients that you want, so spend your efforts marketing to them.
Now you've gone into detail defining your best customer and really understanding them, you can create your description of your ideal customer. You’ll use this to more generally explain the ideal customers that you would like more of.
In your ideal world there will be a good level of cross over between the two.
Personally I like to target my marketing to my best customers. I’m sure you want to keep your best customers really happy. If your marketing adds value for them it's a really good sign that it'll help to attract other customers like them, that in turn will help us offer an even better service to them.
Now create your own
Hopefully this has inspired you to create your ideal customer profile and helped you understand how to create a customer profile. Just follow the steps above and you'll have everything you need. I've also created a document template that you can follow. It’s for a B2B customer profile with company information and supporting decision makers, if you are B2C you can just leave these bits out.