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Defining Your Core Customer: The Key To a Successful Digital Presence

Image of magnet attracting people

The most important thing that you need to do when designing a digital presence is to determine and understand your core customer.

If you do a quick Google search you'll see references to core customers that typically tie to customer or buyer personas. Personas are a standard way of trying to help define your core audience. Everyone has their own version of personas, but typically they consist of demographic information, goals, challenges, etc.

More Than Demographics

Just knowing the gender, age, and income of your audience will not help you get more sales. There's something more to making a purchase that goes a little deeper.

In The Inside Advantage: The Strategy that Unlocks the Hidden Growth in Your Business by Robert Bloom and Dave Conti, the authors suggest looking at your audience from a slightly different perspective.

Companies should describe their audience in a way that will enable them to really get to know them and their ultimate needs. The authors believe that knowing your customer - fully understanding his or her needs, preferences, and prejudices - is vital to creating a robust and effective growth strategy for your business. Since your digital presence is a part of your growth strategy, this naturally translates on how you go about creating your digital presence.


What does your customer need?

You should describe your core customer in one clear statement that captures the essence of his or her wants, needs and desires. Think of it as an elevator pitch for your core customer.

What are the elements of the core customer statement?

Authors, Robert Bloom and Dave Conti, believe that your core customer statement should:

  • Be expressed in one brief, simple, and clear statement
  • Capture the essence of your customer
  • Describe your customer in far more than demographic terms - what are this person needs, desires, prefers, seeks, wants, or demands from a firm like yours
  • Express what your customer is looking for in the context of your products and services
  • Have no more than 10-15 highly descriptive words that will capture your core customer

How to create a core customer statement in 5 steps

  1. Write down a broad list of customers. Instead of starting to draft the description of your core customer right away, the recommendation is to make a list of all the customers that come to mind. The list shouldn't include only your favorite customers but also the ones that currently belong to your competitors and/or the ones that currently use both you and your competitors. Also, make sure to add potential customers that are similar to your current ideal clients.
  2. Narrow down your ideal customers. Examine your list and circle those targets that best represent your current customers and the potential customers you'd like to recruit in the next few years.
  3. Focus on your highest priority targets. Here you are looking to define an individual who will be your core customer.
  4. Describe your customer in 2 to 3 words and refrain from using general terms.
  5. Complete the exercise by defining your core customer in 10 to 15 words. In the final statement, describe his or her needs, desires, wants and demands in relation to your products and services.

Examples of core customer statements:

A West Coast Golf Products Retailer: An affluent, avid golfer who constantly seeks a better golfing experience.

A Fitness Center: An adult man or woman who wants and can afford an exceptional personal training experience.

A Sports and Entertainment Marketing Agency: A powerful marketer with a big ad budget that demands results-driven sponsorship programs.

These companies didn't describe their core customer as someone who is looking to buy their products or services, but as someone who is looking to fulfill their needs and desires.

The golf retailer didn't describe their core customer as someone who is looking to buy golf equipment because those are not the ultimate desires of their core customer. The ultimate desire is to become a better golfer. The golf retailer wants to improve the golfing experience of their core customers, and they just happen to sell golf equipment.

All sales are emotional in nature (and then rational) and aligning your products and services (and the way you market and sell) with your customers needs and desires will help you attract, engage and convert more prospects into buying customers.

In many cases, the next step is developing personas for your content marketing plan. Learn what personas are and how to get started.