Soulmates in Business: The Crucial Role of Your Ideal Customer

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Soulmates in Business: The Crucial Role of Your Ideal Customer

Do you believe in soulmates? That one person in the whole world who is perfect for you. The person who just “gets” you. The person you can’t live without. I don’t know if I believe that soulmates exist for every person, but I do believe they exist for businesses. They are called target customers, and they are crucial to the existence of every business.

That’s why I am often so baffled by the fact that so many companies don’t take the time to think through who their target customer is. How can any brand possibly survive and flourish if it doesn’t know who it is perfect for?

Every Brand has a Soulmate (or Target Customer)

Some have more than one (ooh, polyamorous!) A target customer is the person whose life is disrupted by a problem that your product or service can solve. If and when they discover your brand, try your product, and are happy with the results, they can become lifelong loyal customers so that they never experience that problem again.

Some business leaders think their product or service should be placed in the hands of every single person in the world. They are sure that their product appeals to everyone. That is magical thinking. Humans are individuals with distinct personalities, needs, priorities, and more. Sure, you want to appeal to the most people possible. But no product will ever be perfect for the entire world. Not only is this thinking short-sighted, it’s also dangerous. When companies don’t pinpoint who their target customer is, they end up creating products that are confusing, marketing that appeals to no one, and a reputation as inauthentic or irrelevant.

A Target Customer is a Brand’s True North

Ok, I’m mixing metaphors here, but stay with me. Smart brands place their soulmate or target customer at the center of everything they do, from product development to sales. That also includes marketing strategy, plans, campaigns, and messages. The target customer is the focal point around which the entire brand strategy and identity revolves.

Here’s why:

Alignment with Customer Needs: A brand’s primary purpose is to fulfill the needs and desires of its target customers. By making the target customer the focal point, a brand ensures that its products, services, and messaging are aligned with what the customers want, ultimately leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.

Messages that Resonate: Understanding the target customer allows a brand to craft messaging and marketing campaigns that appeal to them. It enables the brand to speak directly to the customer’s pain points, aspirations, and values, making the message more effective.

Differentiation: Identifying a specific target customer helps a brand stand out in the market. When a brand caters to a niche or a well-defined group of customers, it can differentiate itself from competitors and build a unique identity.

Consistency: A target customer is a guiding force for consistency across all business functions, which builds a strong brand image and recognition over time.

Product Development: Knowing the target customer’s preferences and pain points aids in product or service development. Brands can create offerings that address specific customer needs, increasing the likelihood of success in the market.

Efficient Resource Allocation: Focusing on the target customer allows a brand to allocate resources more efficiently. Instead of appealing to a broad audience, resources can be concentrated on strategies that resonate with the core customer base.

Measurable Success: When a brand has a clearly defined target customer, measuring success and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) becomes easier. Brands can assess their performance in reaching and satisfying their core audience.

Brand Loyalty: If a target customer is a brand’s True North, brand loyalty from that customer should be the ultimate goal. A brand that consistently caters to the needs and desires of its target customers is more likely to build a loyal customer base. These loyal customers can become brand advocates and help drive growth through word-of-mouth marketing.

Long-term Sustainability: Business success is a marathon, not a sprint. Think past the first or next transaction. Reach for lifelong customer loyalty. Brands prioritizing their target customers tend to have a stronger foundation for long-term sustainability. Building deep relationships with a core customer base makes them less susceptible to market fluctuations and changes.

A target customer should be every brand’s true north because it provides direction, purpose, and a solid foundation for all business decisions. Brands that center their strategies around their target customers are more likely to build strong, enduring relationships and achieve sustained success in the market.

How to Find a Brand’s Soulmate

Remember that public service announcement always ends with “The More You Know”? This is an example of that. The more specifics you have about your company’s soulmate or target customer, the easier it is to find them. I’m not talking about just the usual information like gender, age, and income. I’m talking about psychographic and personal details that outline the problems, challenges, and pain points your customer’s experience, how they feel about them, what they are doing to address or circumvent the problem, their priorities and limitations in solving the problem, and more. Sounds like a lot of information, right? Yes, it is. That’s the point. You should know your soulmate at their core.

And you know what? Your best customers will have no problem telling you these things if you ask them. They are brand loyalists, right? They want your company to succeed. They probably go out of their way to talk about your brand to others, and they often engage with you on social media. You already have a ton of good information about them. But if you don’t, ask them! They’ll tell you.

Then, create the profile of a specific soulmate or target customer, a make-believe person with a name, personality, and lifestyle. This detail is best collected and presented in a customer persona profile.

What Exactly is a Customer Persona?

According to Hubspot, a persona is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” A persona is a profile of your ideal customer, that person looking for a product or service like yours to solve a pain point or conflict. In fact, many brands create a description of an actual person, like a dating profile, for their customer personas. 

A customer persona humanizes your best customer so you can tailor your business efforts more effectively. When you build a profile of your ideal customer, you and your entire team will better understand their characteristics, behaviors, goals, pain points, and more. You can identify their purchase decision-making process, how they like to communicate, who they need to include in the decision, and more.

You can find lots of examples and templates online to build your customer persona. Some are more detailed than others, depending on the industry and the customer information the brand acquires. The customer details will also depend on if your brand is in the B2B or B2C space. 

The Difference Between B2C and B2B Personas

While a persona is always a customer profile, by nature of intent, B2B (business-to-business) personas differ slightly from B2C (business-to-consumer) personas.

A B2B’s best customers may be different people, depending on the product. If you are in the B2B space, your best-qualified lead is probably the end user of your product, but your actual targeted converted customer may be the decision maker, a completely different person. So, B2B personas tend to be very targeted to the customer journey and include more details because of a longer and more complex purchasing process.

In contrast, a B2C persona features the characteristics, behaviors, and preferences of an individual consumer. A B2C persona is based on individual factors such as age, gender, income, interests, and lifestyle. The goal is to understand the emotional and practical needs of that ideal customer and how a product or service can satisfy them.

Let’s look at a general framework for each type of customer persona.

B2B Persona Framework – End User

Here are some details to include in a B2B end-user persona if it makes sense for your business:

Basic info:
● Name
● Title
● Decision-maker: yes or no
● Industry/company
● Age
● Salary/Seniority level
● Education
● Family
● Personality (for example: data-driven and analytical or human-focused and emotional)

More detailed:
● Overall goals/motivations
● Problem/challenges to solve
● Important decision factors (price,
● Common objections
● Preferences/Turn-offs
● Tools they use to do their job
● Purchasing timetable
● Others in the company who might need to be involved

Marketing details:
● Preferred communication channels
● Product/service features that solve their problems
● Elevator pitch

You may need to include more industry-specific information like trade association affiliations, certifications, tech knowledge, size of company or budget, etc. The critical thing to remember is to have any information that will inform you and your team on the best way to communicate to this person as their “soulmate.”

B2C Persona Framework:

Here are some details to include in a B2C customer persona if it makes sense for your business:
Basic info:
● Name
● Age
● Income
● Location
● Gender
● Education
● Profession/work
● Family
● Personality (for example introvert, digital native, trendsetter, creative)

More detailed:
● Overall goals/motivations
● Hobbies/favorite activities
● Habits/lifestyle
● Values/beliefs
● Problem/challenges to solve
● Important decision factors (for example: price, convenience, trendy, loyalty)
● Common objections
● Preferences/turn-offs

Marketing details:
● Preferred communication channels
● Preferred shopping channels
● Preferred research and referral channels
●Product/service features that solve their problems
● Elevator pitch

Once your customer personas are created, make sure your entire team has access to the information and uses it as a lens through which all decisions are made. If Jane, your target customer, would approve of the strategy, product, message, or policy you are creating, it’s a big yes for approval to move forward!

Just like a personal soulmate can bring fulfillment and happiness, identifying and nurturing your business’s target customer relationships can lead to prosperity, growth, and enduring success. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to find your business soulmate; it’s a journey worth embarking upon.

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