Who really are your customers?

When I was in the advertising business, I would always ask my clients, “Who are your customers?”

I would quite often get the response, “Everyone.”

Even if I would question further, I got the same response. Only when I finally started to talk about categories like most frequent customers and those who only came in around specific times of the year did we get a better picture.

sign reading: customer serviceThose retailers were not unlike many small business owners. They want to claim everyone as their customer when in reality there is only a certain percentage of people who would use that business’ product or service.

Who are your customers?

One of the ways to look at segmenting a business’ customers is to break them into users or choosers. Quite often it is not the users buying the product but the choosers. What’s the difference? Consumers in general are users, but the actual shopper is the chooser. Both need to be marketed to, but in different ways. The business owner must know their motivation to be successful. Realize by knowing these motivations, the business increases its ability to drive sales up.

What type of person is the buyer?

A business owner starts a customer profile by letting go of the myth that “everybody is my customer” and giving serious thought to who their most frequent buyers are. The owner should also know what motivates them to buy or the product’s benefits and features. Here you want to learn about customers’ values, attitudes and lifestyles.

What are their buying habits?

The second step in profiling customers is to learn their buying habits. Where do they shop, spend money, spend leisure time or even more importantly, where are they using your product? Knowing where they are using the product allows marketing to be not place- but time-specific, which increases marketing results.

Who’s the ideal customer?

The third step is to determine how many ideal customers are really out there in the marketplace. Knowing age, marital status, home ownership and other descriptive criteria will help you round out the picture of the top customer.

smiling man in blue shirt

Richard Proffer, Cape Girardeau County SBTDC

Where is your marketing currently reaching?

The final step is to start using this newfound information to better target marketing. Ask, “Who is my marketing currently reaching and do they look anything like my ideal customer?” If not, then revise your plans and change up a few things so your message is reaching the right audience.

– Contributed by Richard Proffer, Cape Girardeau County Extension SBTDC, Jackson. Proffer is always available to help you determine your ideal customers. Contact him at profferrd@missouri.edu or 573-243-3581.