As technology and methodologies continue to advance, reaching your ideal customer is becoming seemingly easier; however, there is a lot that goes into the strategy and planning activities before executing a marketing campaign.
Firstly, your ideal customer is not just what their demographic profile is, but also their activity in the marketplace for your products and services.
Secondly, this is merely a quick guide. Each of these areas require effort and is not a trivial exercise, especially if you are starting from ground zero.
Let’s take a look at defining your ideal customer.
1. Demographic Attributes
Think of demographic attributes as a data readout of a person’s vitals. It will give you some reference point as you build out your ideal customer profile.
- Credit Score
- Movers (current or their most recent move)
- Home Owner vs Renter
- Location of where they live
- Location of where they work
- Utility bill amounts
- Mode of travel
- Communication preferences (email, sms, phone)
- and the list goes on and on
This is just the starting point. Creating an initial grouping is the foundation and it makes it easier to build on top the rest of the profile.
It is important to understand that demographic attributes are just that, they are not going to give you a full insight on their consumer behavior.
Personas is a generalized grouping of what consumers value when making a purchase decision.
A few examples (to reiterate, this is just a few examples)…
- Price Shoppers: they only care about the price and will go to whoever has the cheapest and is willing to give up on quality (up to a point)
- Benefit Shoppers: they care about what value they are getting with price being a secondary factor
- Analytical Shoppers: they will compare and analyze every report and data point possible before making a decision
- Cause Shoppers: they purchase products/services that support their beliefs and passions
Humans are complex creatures so a person could be any persona type at any given time based on what product/service they are looking at purchasing.
For example, a customer might buy the cheapest shampoo, drive a Mercedes, and buy clothes that are made out of recycled plastic.
You need to define and identify the personas that are relevant to your offering.
3. Customer segmentation
Tying together Demographic Attributes and Personas will result in customer segmentation.
It is recommended that you first look internally at your existing customer base and create groupings based on criteria that you would like to use as a starting point.
This can either be profitability or revenue or tenure, or anything else or a combo. Customer segmentation can be as deep with many sub-groupings as you want.
We recommend to start simple and then expand.
From there, you can then use those groupings to define your ideal customer profile that mimics your current customers that you deem as ideal as those are the ones you want to attract.
Let’s look at a few segmentation attributes:
- Profitability %
- Acquisition channel (how did they buy from you)
- Product mix (single product or multiple)
- Revenue/Billing amount (how much revenue are they generating)
- Cost to Serve (are they high maintenance requiring a lot of resources to support them)
- and the list goes on and on
An important note here, is to be careful not to drown in the data. As mentioned earlier, start simple and then build.
You can pivot the view around just any data point you want, such as making Product the central grouping or Market or whatever you want.
4. Defining your search topics
Similar to creating key words or adwords, you need to develop “topics” that you will utilize in targeting customers.
A topic is just not a bunch of key words related to your product/service, but it is a holistic grouping of direct and indirect relation to your product/service.
Let’s take Solar Energy as an example.
Common searches that are defined are around:
- Energy Storage
And you’ll get results from there, but now look at expanding into parallel or indirect:
- Roof Replacement
- Global Warming
- New Home Construction
- Home Renovation
- Commercial Building Construction
- Commercial Building Renovation
By expanding you will have a more holistic view of which customers have an intent on purchasing or at the very least having a conversation about Solar Energy.
And while this may seem that you are casting a wider net, you are actually narrowing the net because it is not just each topic area in a silo, but rather all combined together.
Now let’s look at putting all of this together for a marketing strategy that will effectively laser in on who you want as a customer.
5. Contextual marketing
Contextual Marketing is taking a holistic view on a customer’s behavior such as online activity, purchase history, channel preference, activity per time of day, and so on.
This allows you to get in front of the customer at the most optimal time, on the most optimal medium, with the most optimal message.
Contextual Marketing eliminates much waste that is associated with digital marketing. You are not just placing ads and content anywhere and everywhere with the “spray and pray” approach.
Geotargeting is where you are utilizing geofencing parameters that go deeper than just at a zip code level to track and target your customers.
An easy example would be a retail store.
You can set up a virtual “fence” around your store and as people are near it or cross into the fence, you can begin marketing to them and also gaining additional data attributes (see above items) so that you can fine tune your messaging and offering.
Geotargeting also allows you to perform conquesting and proximity marketing where you are promoting to customers who are visiting your competition and you can be as precise as you want to be or cast a wide fence.
Putting it all together
As mentioned in the beginning this is just a quick guide on how to effectively target your ideal customer.
Marketing is not just one thing that works, it is a collective organism that works together via all of the different channels and techniques to attract your ideal customer at the right time at the right place with the right message.
Marketing is a symphony that when all of the instruments work well together will produce the most beautiful sound….CHA-CHING!