Here is a useful and interesting blog from Gerard Tannam the owner and Director of IslandBridge Brand Development . The blog specifically looks at how your business can find and define its core customer through 5 key questions. It’s well worth a read for any business big or small.
Imagine being invited into a department store, and asked to choose a gift for some person unknown to you. No matter how dazzling the array of goods and how persuasive the sales person, you would find it very difficult, if not impossible, to choose the right gift for that person without knowing something about them. Depending on the choice of possible gifts, (for example, a bottle of perfume or a set of golf-clubs), you would need to know many important details about them, such as their gender and interests. Otherwise, there would be a real danger that the bottle of perfume or the set of golf clubs, no matter how well made or luxurious, would be left lying in a drawer or under the stairs, gathering dust.
Incredible as it seems, like shoppers in the dark, many business-owners simply don’t know enough about their customers to set out their stall with the right selection of goods or services presented in just the right way. Instead, they make their pitch hoping to appeal to the widest possible number of people, and end up pleasing nobody. This indiscriminate approach is almost always costly, and often fatal, to the business.
The smart business-owner isn’t so indiscriminate. By getting to know their customers better, they get to know which customers are most likely to want what they have to offer, and develop their offer to match.
Building The Right Brand
In order to succeed in business then, the business-owner needs to build a brand that makes their offering the ‘natural choice of customers’. But how can the business-owner know what their customers want and equally as important, how can the customer know what business offer is ‘just right for them?’
If our understanding of the role of a brand is that it stands for the relationship between the customer and the business (the buyer and seller), then we need to make sure we know exactly who we are as a business, why we do what we do, what business we are in, and how to communicate that clearly to our customers. And the converse is also true; for a brand to truly reflect the relationship between the customer and the business, we need to know exactly who our customers are, what they need, why we are the right choice for them and how they like to buy from us.
The Natural Choice Of Customers
Imagine looking out over the marketplace and being able to appeal directly to the person most likely to buy from you. In order to become the natural choice of customers, business-owners need to understand the type of customer for whom their product or service is just right, or ‘most right’, and build a brand that presents their offering in a way that makes most sense to that matching customer.
One very important step in brand building is identifying an ideal buyer (at lslandbridge we call this buyer the ‘Bullseye Customer’). Identifying this customer is one of the most powerful ways for you to frame your marketing and sales messages so that you can present your offer in a way that’s just right for your target market.
This approach isn’t so restrictive as it might first appear. Other customers who have a lot in common with your Bullseye Customer, may be a little less likely to buy from you than this ideal person, but they are much more likely to buy from you than the wider market of people who are not a match for you in any way.
When you have a clear picture of who you’re seeking to win over, your messages are more relevant and persuasive, and those customers clustered around your Bullseye Customer are much more likely to buy from you.
Pinpointing Your Bullseye Customer
Here are five questions you can ask to help you to identify your Bullseye Customer:
The Perfect Match
Ask: At what time and place in their lives is a person most likely to need, appreciate and be ready & able to buy what I have to offer?
Ask: What are the key qualities and characteristics of this person, which makes them most likely to buy from me?
Ask: Where is my ideal customer and what are they doing at the moment when their need is greatest, and how do they make their decision to buy?
Under The Influence
Ask: Who are the other people who influence the decisions of my ideal customer?
Mapping Your Market
Ask: Who are the other people who share the key qualities and characteristics of my ideal customer?
The Right Match
Where will you find the answers to these questions? First off, once you give the questions some thought, you’ll be surprised at how much you already know about your ideal customer. We then recommend you look at your current customer mix and identify customers who most appreciate your offer and would be happy to give their honest feedback on your offer and service. Then go ask them some questions. Ask all your staff to identify their favourite customers and to give reasons for their answers.
Armed with a clear picture of your ideal customer and target market, you’re now able to build your brand so that everything you say and do helps your customer make the choice that’s ‘just right’ for them, and makes you in turn the natural choice of customers in your target market. All your communications will be directed towards them, your marketing and sales strategies will take into account how they buy and where to reach them and your offer will be tailored to suit their needs. No more unwanted perfume or golf clubs gathering dust.
‘Pinpointing Your Bullseye Customer’ is just one of the vital marketing tools participants of Island Bridge’s 6 week Raising A Brand programme – developed to help businesses grow so be sure to read more about it if you are looking to expand further.