3 tips in advanced customer targeting

Look at any two people out on the street, or in your store. One might be a male, 50, with short hair, a leather jacket, black jeans. Make an assumption about the person standing there – about what kind of vehicle he drives. What kind of music he listens to. What he does on Friday or Saturday night.

Now, look at the next man in your store, or on the street.

He is buttoned up – nice business suit, sharp tie, cuff links, expensive-looking watch, neat haircut. You get the picture.

How can we assume these two gentlemen are the same? Do they spend their discretionary money on the same things? Does each one buy the same products from you?

Even though these two men are close in age –  about 50 – and possibly live in the same zip code, or even neighborhood, chances are good that their wants, needs, buying habits, lifestyles, musical tastes and leisure activities are vastly different.

Lesson One: Not all of us are the same.

Our values, motivations and buying behaviors could be vastly different. As a result, demographic segmentation alone, especially online, is woefully inadequate.

To genuinely connect with your customers, or future customers, we must move beyond traditional targeting: gender, age and location. We need to understand their motivations, values and behaviors, likes and dislikes.

Lesson Two: Create deeper, more meaningful, genuine connections with your customers and potential customers.

You want to create deep, genuine connections with customers, not to trick or cajole them into buying your products. Deep connections, VIP clubs, special offerings … all are possible. People want to feel they’re part of something unique and special. Who doesn’t want a free cup of coffee or free scarf on their birthday?!

Lesson Three: Build a marketing profile of your ideal customer.

Think of your ideal customer. Is she a pleasure to serve? Does she make you smile when you assist her in your store? Does she love your products and tell others about them?

What is her name? Her age? Her job or career? What are her other attributes (is she a mother, grandmother, newly graduated student)? Does she drive a Saturn, BMW, SUV? Does she work or stay at home with the kids? Does she walk to work or commute more than 30 minutes to get there?

What are her attitudes? Is she shy, expressive? Does she make quick shopping decisions, so she’s in and out of your store quickly? Does she look over every single item in the store before buying? Or even put an item “on hold” and come back within 24 hours with a friend to help her make the final decision? Do you have her name, e-mail address, phone number?

To create a profile of your best customer, go beyond the traditional targeting: age, gender, household income. Work to put yourself in your ideal customer’s shoes, and in his or her mind. What do you hear them say? Try to hear and empathize with them and work to understand what they might be feeling or thinking about. What kind of language or phrases are they using? What do you hear them reallysaying?

To create a more complete profile, use the assumptions and data that deal with values, behavior and motivations.

Are they caregivers? Challengers – people who don’t follow the pack and do things differently? Non-conformists? Freedom seekers? You’ve seen and met these people – they strive to increase freedom and reduce boredom. They don’t want to “always fit in,” and they are innovators – the first to wear something new and different. Always, they’re fresh and new, not old and stodgy.

The above are keys to creating a marketing profile that will enable you to better connect with your customers on a much deeper level. Keep these three tips in mind when you’re thinking about targeting more of your current customers as a means to go after new customers. “Clone” your current customers into various segments to seek new “like” customers to expand your business.

written by: Suzanne Pepper