I had an interesting conversation this week with a business –to-business potential client and I asked the question ‘who exactly is your customer?’ They replied by describing a business type customer with a number of key drivers.
Two things really struck me. Firstly, the level of detail used to describe the customer was very shallow and very general. Plus they had only identified one customer type.
So I challenged them on both points. Their response was to say ‘it’s hard to be more specific, everyone has their own reasons for buying and it’s not possible to narrow it down any further’.
In truth both issues were wrapped up in the same flawed thinking. The idea that if you start to be too specific, it means you risk missing out on people who don’t conform to this more narrow definition. Far better to stay broad and encompass everyone.
But of course, the big risk here is that, by failing to get properly to grips with the detail and keeping it generic, they will fail to target their message to anyone in particular at all. If you want to appeal to MORE people you MUST narrow it down.
The fact is you really do need to get VERY specific about WHO your customer is. Typically, most businesses can find 3 or 4 key customer types – people who will buy the same thing, but for very different reasons. It allows your marketing to become massively more focused on – and appealing to – each customer type.
For example, I’m working with my personal trainer at the moment and helping him define customer types. He could argue that they are all completely different, other than they live or work near to his studio. But consider the range of reasons why they are buying and see how that helps to drill down and understand the person…
• The middle-aged guy who used to play a lot of sport when he was younger– he wants to regain his fitness and fancies the idea of triathlon. He’s very driven at work and he’s equally driven in the gym
• The time-poor business exec who wants someone else to do their gym-thinking for them in the limited time they have available in a couple of lunch-time sessions each week
• A full-time Mum whose kids are growing up and don’t need her around as much – she’s having a bit of a ‘who am I? and what’s my purpose in life?’ crisis
Would you sell PT sessions to them all in the same way? Are their motivations the same? Are their barriers to buying the same?
Of course not. And if you take each of these scenarios and continue to drill down more and more, you’ll soon build a picture of a real person who you can have a proper conversation with. Tailored specifically to them and the person they are. And the reasons they will buy.
There isn’t a single business where this critical thinking doesn’t apply – don’t every fall into the trap of imagining your business is somehow different. And it’s the single biggest reason why most websites and marketing fail to appeal to capture the interest of key audiences. Too general. Too little content that strikes a chord. No compelling reason for them to buy.
If you would like to understand more about this subject, download my free book, Who Cares? from the home page of this website.