The Marketing Guy

Rooting for Good Marketing Since 2009

Can you Name your Customer?

Lots of times when companies are doing the nuts and bolts of marketing like messaging, positioning, and targeting, there are a lot of competing goals and ideas about who you should sell your products and services to, who the primary buyer is, who the competition is targeting, etc.

Often times the most simple and primary (meaning in this case “the first thing you should do”) exercise to distill all of these competing thoughts is to put a face to the primary customer you’re after. What’s their gender? Their title? Their name?

Now when I’ve suggested this to marketers, often times the feedback I get is “their NAME?” What do you mean their NAME?” What I mean is, what’s their name? Is their name Eunice or Brandii? Are they a Wilbur or a Chip? Yes, we do have stereotypes with names out there. Names that were popular when our parents were in the mainstream of the workplace is way different from the 18-22 year old workers now (trying) to enter the workplace.

So their name will connote a lot about them, as will other characteristics like their role in the company, hobbies, income, purchasing power, and their influence in the marketplace. Are they a “thought leader” or a “fast follower?”. And you can’t afford *not* to build a profile of these people first. Yes, there can be more than one person you go after. Yes they can be different genders. But you need to know who they are, their habits, likes, dislikes, and how they consider your product or service. You need to know them so well you can pick them out at the drop of a hat.

Then, and only then, can you start the work of building a marketing plan around them. You can tailor messages to them directly; you can build events and offers, and campaigns that appeal directly to them. But believe it or not, it all starts with a name—can you put a name to your customers today?

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1 Comment»

  Maria Ross wrote @

Excellent, Guy! I go throug this exercise with my branding clients as well. They have to make the person “real” so their communications are actually speaking to someone. Only then can the messaging really resonate and connect rather than be some generic, vanilla blah blah that doesn’t apply to anyone in the real world. This is the #1 aspect of a strong brand strategy.

Some clients resist this at first, because they try to say it limits their customer base too much, But in order to create a brand that attracts people, you have to talk to them like you know them. Creating a full Character Persona also helps you uncover some marketing opportunities to get in front of them that you may never have thought of before.


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