The first step that you need to take when you are developing your marketing strategy is to identify your ideal customer.
In some places you will see this referred to as your “Avatar”. In other words, you create an avatar, or a picture of your model customer. We refer to it here as your “Ideal Customer Profile” or “ICP” for short.
This ICP will be foundational to your marketing strategy, and it is imperative to get it right.
Here are 6 common mistakes that people make when creating this ICP.
There is a saying that goes like this: “Assume” makes an “Ass” out of “you and me”.
Your ICP has no room for assumptions. You may think you know your customers and have “gut” feelings when it comes to knowing them.
However, many of our assumptions come from our own paradigms and may be totally wrong or missing something important when it comes to customers.
Objective data has to be used rather than assumptions. You have to dig deep, and you may find surprises as well as encounter trends you had not previously observed.
Failing to being specific when pinpointing your absolute “BEST” customer will create a huge problem for you. This is not your ‘average’ customer. You are trying to identify that one individual that will get the most benefit from your products and services so you can focus your marketing resources on reaching that person.
If you try to be all things to all people, your marketing will be scattered and ineffective.
As you go through the process, you will start observing patterns and trends. To your eye they may not seem relevant.
However, to ignore them is a big mistake!
Record all trends, however small, as every piece of data will help define your perfect customer.
Failure to include Psychographic information will deem your ICP rather useless.
Demographic data such as age sex, income, religion and so on is rather straight forward.
However, psychographic data is of the utmost importance as it covers the questions relating to their attitudes, their problems, their beliefs, values, behaviors etc.
It helps you discover how they make their buying decisions so you can tailor your marketing to show how they can benefit from your products and services.
In your search to find out information, you will use two types of gathering methods.
The easiest method to use is the Direct method such as asking direct questions of your audience, participating in focus groups and so on.
But the information you gather will not always be accurate as people do not always tell you what they really think. Often they just don’t know when placed in a hypothetical situation, and there are plenty of stories about products launched on the basis of focus groups that have flopped.
The indirect method involves listening to what people are saying and watching their behavior on social media and so on.
Many people hesitate when it comes to the Indirect Method because it consists of digging deeper and going to places that some may think of a being invasive.
However, you will get some valuable information and really get to know your customer.
OK, now you have succeeded in creating your ICP based on objective information, what are the next steps?
Because customers’ tastes and markets change, your ICP becomes somewhat of a living document.
You need edit and update some of your customer data from time to time.
Actually, you may change as well with changes to your products and services to your offers that may also require an updated Ideal Customer Profile.
In any case if your do not use your ICP, and update it, you will simply lose it as an effective pillar of your business whether you operate a one-person business or have a business with employees.
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