who is buying your stuff?

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To better target your marketing efforts, it is essential that you have a very good understanding of who your typical customer is.  Although this sounds like an obvious no brainer, the sad reality is that many entrepreneurs have only a fuzzy idea of who might actually constitute their core customer base.  As such, they run the risk of wasting each and every advertising dollar they spend chasing the wrong demographics.  In these tough times, who can afford to waste any kind of dollars?

Building a comprehensive customer persona is an exercise in communicating with your customers and understanding what makes them decide to act the way they do when it comes to making buying decisions.  Once you have begun to engage in these types of interactions you can, in turn, anticipate their needs by providing the goods and services that most appeals to them.

customer profile is simply a detailed, holistic look at the general characteristics of your ideal customer base.  Oftentimes, new entrepreneurs approach this endeavor as if they are attempting to target an entire group rather than a single individual, but this would be the wrong approach.  Invariably, the data that is derived from this approach is suspect because the data isn’t nearly detailed enough to yield promising results.

When building your customer persona, subtly should mark your data collection efforts at all times.  As a class, consumers tend to be impatient when it comes to the trappings of formalized marketing surveys.  In fact, for an emotion to come close to approaching anything that even resembles enthusiasm, the marketing effort needs to be monetized in some fashion.  As an example, think about it terms of the three-day tropical junkets that are paid through your attendance at a sales pitch for condos.

That said, there is still room for maneuvering when it comes to eliciting customer information.

Obviously, you can never discount the power of good old-fashioned conversation as a means of gathering valuable information and as such, every interaction can potentially add to the collection of data points that further flesh out your customer persona.

What’s the average age and gender of your typical customer?  When they provide feedback, is it typically praise or complaints?  Do you have an internal system to facilitate complaint resolutions?  Do complaints point to a customer service issue or lack of particular products?  Can you respond to either of those in a timely manner to facilitate customer retention?

Understanding what makes your customer tick is always a good thing, and that’s all that’s involved with the building of a customer persona.  Armed with a comprehensive customer persona, you are in a far better position to anticipate what will excite your customer’s interest and, more importantly, what is most likely to get them to pull out their wallets and make a sale.

randy bowden – t | f | g+

(image:123RF)

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