3 Steps to Better Understand Your Customer

When doing business, you have to know who your target customer is. You can have the best product or service in the world, and make the most compelling offer on the planet, but if you’re talking to the wrong people, it won’t make a bit of difference.

For example, no matter how good you are as a landscaper, if you’re targeting apartment dwellers, you’re not going to make any sales. Right? Smart business owners know that it is critical to understand their target market and do this by defining their ideal target customer profile.

If you aren’t clear on your target customer profile, the process of defining it is simple. It can definitely get more involved, but here are the basics:

Busy people at the night market

Step 1: Define the physical characteristics (or demographics) of your target customers in detail.

Start off by identifying everyone who needs what you sell. Now what exactly does this “physical profile” refer to?

You have to identify markers that apply to your best customers.

If you are business selling to consumers (B-2-C), you might focus on gender, age, education level, marital status, income level, employment status, geographic location, and the like. If you are business selling to businesses (B-2-B), you might focus on number of employees, industry, job description, geographic location, annual revenue, and so on.

Step 2: Define the emotional and psychological characteristics (or “psychographics”) of your target customers in detail.

Begin this process begins by asking yourself: “Why do my best customers buy my products or services?” Focus on what your customers want, not what you think they need, because these may be different

Your customers’ emotional hot buttons differ depending on their demographics (or physical profile). That’s why you need Step 1 to lay the groundwork for this step.

While the physical profile helps you craft the right marketing message, the emotional profile will help you determine what approach you should be using to lure them in. What are their wants? What are their needs? What are their priorities? What kinds of causes do they align themselves with? What kinds of problems can you help them solve?

This process is the same whether you’re dealing with consumers or businesses — after all, people make buying decisions, and if you want to make an impact, your marketing needs to appeal to people.

Step 3: Define the behavioral profile (or “sociographics”) of your customers as your final step in understanding more about your customers.

Ask yourself questions about your customers’ behaviors to identify any common characteristics that will give you additional clues as to how to market to them. For instance, what magazines are they reading? What clubs or organizations do they belong to?

Sociographics take the target market down to the level of the individual, where they determine the specific values, attitudes, friends, hobbies, passions, and influences. Essentially, they allow you to discover what really pushes your customers buttons.

Now you have what they want and what they need and how they behave. Your next mission is to determine how you can bring them to your doorstep. With the right information about your customers’ state of mind, you will know exactly which marketing tactics will work best for you to get them.

Properly identifying your target customers’ profile removes the guesswork from your marketing. With these two steps, you can be confident that you are doing the right thing before you waste too much time and resources.

Learn more about Scaling Up’s methodology