3 Ways To Define Customers

Actionable Marketing 101

Recently, a ClickZ reader wrote: “How do I reach my audience? I’m promoting a new company. I know whom I want to target but don’t know the best way to reach them. Please advise.”

This communication underlines the need to spend time in the initial phase of your marketing planning to define your target audience. Part of the reason that it’s critical to define your market is so that you can find the most appropriate media to reach them.

To understand the importance of knowing your customer, take a look at SavvyAuntie.com. Melanie Notkin, the founder of SavvyAuntie.com, did her research before launching the site and defined a desirable new category of buyers, PANKs.  PANKs are professional women without children who dote on their nieces and nephews.

3 Ways to define customers

As a starting point for defining your customers, here are the three critical components to help you define your audience.

  1. Demographic traits include easy-to-categorize characteristics such as sex, age, ethnic group, location, income and/or net worth. While demographic factors may be straightforward in terms of segmentation, they don’t always provide insights into consumer motivations and/or tradeoffs that may override financial implications! It’s important to note that financial products always consider financial factors first and foremost!
  2. Psychographic characteristics can provide insight into how your market thinks and their values across a broad spectrum of topics. For marketing purposes, psychographic characteristics represent how prospects and customers feel towards products and issues. For example, do consumers buy the best quality products regardless of price, do consumers wait for the best sale even if it’s past the season, or do consumers support small suppliers where there’s a connection to the person who made the product. Psychographic characteristics also can refer to customers’ interests. This enables you to determine the relative importance of various products. This includes hobbies and other non-business interests. For example, an avid knitter might spend money on yarn regularly in lieu of a fancy vacation.
  3. Behavioral actions encompasses activities that prospective and current customers have performed in the past that influences or helps predict what they’ll do in the future. While past buying behavior is one of the most important attributes direct marketers and etailers, it’s also a good idea to also examine prospects’ other social media activity.

While you may not be able to create a whole new category of buyers like SavvyAuntie.com, it is critical to define who your prospective customers are. By combining the demographics, psychographics and past behavior of your prospects, you can build targeted personas around different segments, create tailored offers, develop engaging creative, and reach them efficiently across a variety of media destinations, online and offline.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Photo credit: Xhanatos via Flickr

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