Your company cannot be all things to all customers.
This post will be making two points:
- It is just as important to figure out who your company’s product(s)/service(s) are not suited for as it is to know who your perfect customer is;
- You should try to focus on the relationship between where you choose to market your product/service and the people who will visit that location.
Having a solid understanding of who your perfect customers are is just as important as figuring out who your imperfect customers are. “Perfect” customers are those who would benefit the most from what your company has to offer; “imperfect” customers refers to those who would not find as much value in your company and might be better suited to look elsewhere.
You might be saying, “But surely I can just market my product/service anywhere and the right people will find it?“
Not necessarily. There is a fine line between being available to those perfect customers and setting yourself up to meet imperfect customers. Placing or marketing your product/service in the wrong area or to the wrong types of people can cause a number of issues that basically boil down to ambiguity and skewed expectations of what your company offers and who it is best suited for.
Let’s say you sell a tangible product – for the purpose of this post we’ll choose bagels. They’re baked fresh every day and are a quick, tasty breakfast option for people on the go. Your product:
- is baked
- is round
- has a hole in the middle
You decide to get your product into the local doughnut shop because that shop also sells products that are:
- have holes in the middle
Unfortunately, the customers that visit that doughnut shop walk right past your bagels. Why? Because they are looking for the less-healthy baked, round goods with the hole in the middle, and know that the doughnut shop is the place to get them.
Wrong placement = wrong customers
So you can see how placing your product in the wrong place, or marketing to people who you assume would be interested in your product/service can actually prevent sales and growth because:
- your product might become more difficult to locate
- it can create mixed messages if placed in unconventional places or near unrelated products; leaving customers confused about what you actually offer
- sales decrease because the wrong types of people see the product and are not interested
- the customer who purchases the product has a low chance of making another purchase in the future
- increased risk of customer dissatisfaction because imperfect customers will not benefit from a product/service as completely as perfect customers
Just because you sell bagels doesn’t mean that you should try to get into doughnut shops.
Marketing to the wrong types of people and in the wrong places decreases sales and can leave customers feeling dissatisfied. In that case, customer dissatisfaction is not related to the quality of your product or service. Instead, dissatisfaction has to do with customers who feel that what you offer does not satisfactorily fulfil a specific need that they have.
Imagine if you mistakingly bought a bagel when you were craving a doughnut – how would you feel? Grossly dissatisfied, right? Bagels on a doughnut day – um, yuck!
Instead of marketing to anyone and everyone, you need to understand who your product/service is truly intended for.
Determining who your perfect customers are will help you make informed marketing decisions that encourage sales to people who will actually benefit from what you offer. These people will be more likely to make another purchase in the future.
Create a set of detailed customer personas that outline the basic needs of your company’s perceived “perfect customer”. If you’re not yet sure who your perfect customer is, check out this workbook!
There are many types of people who are not perfect matches for your company.
Maybe you already know who your perfect customer is, where they are, and how to reach them. Who isn’t suited for your company?
- Who is your product/service not intended for?
- What can’t your company do?
- Which needs won’t be fulfilled?
- What problems won’t be solved by your product/service?