MARKETING: MY CUSTOMER
I have now determined the
area where I intend to start my business,
I have determined who my
competitors are and found that my idea is
Now I must picture in my
mind what my customer looks like, who he
is and write down his
profile. This profile will come in very handy
when I try to find out how
many customers interested in my product
or service there are in my
market, also, it will help me reach my
with more accuracy when I advertise my business.
For example, the customers of a high priced custom stereo
equipment manufacturer have been
described as: the average-income hobbyist
who does without a car and borrows to
finance his hobby, the music lover
with money to burn and the wealthy buyer indifferent to music but
pleased by the prestige of high-end ownership. This is about as
compact a customer profile as I will
find, with the exception of "everybody" that would apply only to
According to the product or
service I intend to market, the
definition will vary,
however, I am concerned with similarities and common traits in my customers,
what is common to customers who will
buy my products? Is it sex,
age, income, social status or some
other characteristics. It
can be and most probably is a combination
The more precisely I can
identify my future client, the easier it
will be for me to get my idea accepted later, as I will be
addressing the right persons.
- What level of education does my customer have?
The impact of the level of education of my customers will be
important if I sell poetry and art books, but not if I have a
- What is the employment
status of my customer?
If I sell business forms or
make personal income tax returns the
fact that my customer is a
professional, a business owner, an
clerk or unemployed makes a difference.
- other characteristics I find important in my customer? Is he a
car owner (if I run a carwash)? Is he a home owner, an apartment dweller? Is
he athletic, intellectual? Does he like the outdoors,
gardening, building things? Does he have
hobbies, collecting, fixing or watching and studying?
As I can see, there are
numerous questions I must ask myself to
describe my customer. The answer depends in part on the product or
service I will offer, and on
whether I will look for a small very
select market, a restrictive
market (for men or women only) or a
The small very select market
will respond to expensive, rare and
very high quality products or
services. There will be few clients.
Age, sex, home ownership,
etc. create restrictive markets when I
or the other characteristic. This reduces the number of
customers in the market (men or women or
homeowners or accountants or
joggers only). This reduces the number of customers but there are
still many left.
In the next stages of my
market research, I must try to be as
possible, because, according to the answers I get to my research, my whole
business will be affected.
- Who is my customer?
The answer to this question must provide
me with a description (a profile)
of the persons who have a need for or want what I will
offer. Their need or want is what makes
them my potential clients, their common bond.
What I want to find out
about these special people are the traits,
qualities and characteristics common to
all of them. Lack of knowledge
about the customer is probably the principal cause of
failure in new microbusiness. This
ignorance leads to waste in time, effort and in precious money spent to attract the wrong
customer or in the wrong methods of promotion.
To realize how important
knowing my customer is, I must remind
the whole purpose of being in business is to satisfy my
customer and, to do so properly and
successfully, I must get to know him quite well.
- Is my customer male, female or everyone?
That I sell ice-cream or curtains will make a difference.
- In what age group is my
Selling diapers, snow
removal or care for the aged relate to
- Is my customer married,
If I operate a dating
service or a baby sitting service I am not
for the same type of customer.
- My customer's economic status?
A double income household
has a different lifestyle and different needs than
year old on his first job.
Finally the mass market, the one that caters to everybody (soap),
to all the men (shaving), to all the women (beauty products), to
all the children (toys).
To help me
with my definition of my customer, at the end of this
chapter, there is an example of a worksheet to collect the
information which will define my customer.