Once you have crystallized your business vision, all businesses need to thoroughly understand who is your target customer?  In essence, who does your business serve?

The more you know about your target customer the better.  Are your target customers, upscale, middle or lower income?  Are you focused on certain ethnic groups? A particular gender or age group?  A specific geographic area? Are they tech savvy enough to be online or mobile phone customers? Do they have particular mindsets, attitudes, opinions, interests? Collectively, these are called Psychographics.

Build a “profile” of your target customer – market researchers sometimes refer these as a Customer Persona.  Note that you may have more than one type of customer, and therefore multiple customer profiles.  For example, a frozen yogurt store may have target customers who include a wide demographic – from high schoolers who like hanging out after school, to parents with children in the 4-12 year old range, and senior citizens wanting a midday treat. 

Make sure that you understand the needs of your target customer.  Do your best to validate that there are enough of them in your marketplace to sustain and grow your business (taking into consideration that there will likely be other competitors as well).

Once you understand who your target customers are, do your best to understand what they read and where they shop.  Consider how you might cost effectively reach them.  What type of marketing messaging will likely work for them?  What type of offers might be most interesting to them?

Successful marketing plans are usually created with specific target customers in mind.  That means savvy marketers need to create content and messaging that addresses the real concerns, needs, interests, and preferences of their target customers. Try to identify at least some of these elements and add them to your Customer Personas. 

Lastly, consider where else your target customers shop for products or services like yours.  It’s important to know your competition. It will help you better understand your customer.

Bruce Worrall

+Bruce is the CEO and Mastermind behind IntellaSphere and regularly blogs about Small to mid-size business challenges and opportunities for growth. He can also be reached at @bruce_worrall.