Who is your perfect customer?

Face We’ve talked before about how no one is a demographic.  But usually marketing plans  define the brand’s target audience as "moms, 35-50" or "men, 25-54."  I particularly love the 25-54 demographic. 

When I think about what I was like at 25 and how I am today — those are two completely different men.  And I’m only 45.  But I wouldn’t talk to or market to the 25 year-old Drew in any way, shape or form like I would the 45 year-old.

So relying on wide range demographics really promises that we’re going to either have very vague messaging or we’re going to leave out a portion of the group.

So what if instead, you got very specific. Down to an individual.  Some would call this a persona.  That’s okay by me too.  The point is…think past ranges and sweeping generalities.  Get focused.

Create the profile of an individual who you believe is the perfect fit for your offering.  Down to the nitty-gritty details.  What would an entry in their journal look like?  What are they like in the morning?  What is their guilty pleasure?  What’s their go-to password?  Where’s their dream vacation?  Use research to guide you, but let your insight and intuition take you where the research cannot. 

Make sure this is multi-dimensional.  Use images, sounds, music, smells.

While you’re doing this so you can better understand how this person intersects with your product, service or brand — don’t let yourself get boxed in.

Explore the sum total of them:

  • Their daily routines
  • What they worry about
  • Who matters to them
  • How they dress
  • Where they shop
  • Which brands they advocate for
  • How they unwind and socialize
  • How they dress/what they’d never be caught dead in
  • What causes matter to them?
  • Their favorite movie, music, books

You can go on and on…

Now, begin to describe why this person is absolutely ideal for your product, service or brand.  What it is about them that makes the match perfect? 

As you begin to do this, you’re going to start to get ideas.  Ideas of where to reach this sort of person.  Ideas on what will matter to him/her.  Where’s their watering hole — where do they hang out?  You might wonder what would turn them off about your packaging or pricing structure.  Where would you find and be able to communicate with a whole bunch of them?   How could you find a few and ask them to react to a new business strategy or product tweak?

All of a sudden….you’re going to be thinking in a fresh, new way and find paths you hadn’t explored before.

Have you ever used this technique?  Did it shift your thinking?  What made it work or not work for you?

9 comments on “Who is your perfect customer?

  1. Mr. Bueno says:

    I can’t say that I’ve ever literally taken the time to put the pen to paper and work this one out. I have however carried out this exercise when trying to hone in on my skill-sets.
    But since it worked then, it looks like I have some work to do tomorrow. Challenging? Yes. But worth it? YES!
    I’ll let you know how it goes.

  2. Rowena says:

    I am contacting you through this contact form as there was no email address available. We would be interested in purchasing advertising on your blog. Please get back to me using the email address I have entered if you would be interested in discussing this further.

  3. Jeff Gwynne says:


    Great post and right on. We wrote a similar blog in December focused on market segmentation in the high tech B2B space. The challenge we see in high tech, especially in high tech start-ups, is the tendency to attack too many markets simultaneously. With a finite investment in sales, this is a recipe for disaster.

    What we advocate is a market segmentation process where a company identifies and weights a number of customer attributes in which the company’s solution can add the most value. The company can overlay specific prospects and give them a score (say from 1-5) in each category. Then sum the weighted scores, rank order the companies and, Bam!, you have an opportunity index – a view of likely success from top to bottom.

    Many high tech B2B companies have implemented database marketing organizations to do just this – inject a little science in the hunting process.

  4. Ricardo,

    We’d love to hear how it went!


  5. Jeff,

    Sounds like a great tool to take some of the subjectivity out of the new business hunt. It also probably forces them to do a little more homework before they strike out to make a connection.

    I have to think both the initial win rate and sustainability of the relationship is much higher once the grid is put into play. Does that match up with your real life field results?


  6. Jeff Gwynne says:

    Yes, it does. Best-in-class database marketing organizations use this process to assess what new features, products and services to sell to existing customers.

  7. Jeff,

    Can’t argue with success!


  8. Ed D says:

    Great post! Persona marketing is so important to honing your marketing efforts. In case anybody is interested, I’ve added some of the questions Drew mentioned to a persona development list on a marketing wiki:
    Feel free to add your own.

  9. Ed,

    Great wiki — thank you for sharing it!


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