When I was in the advertising business, I would always ask my clients, “Who are your customers?” “Everyone” was a common response. Even if I questioned further, I received the same response. I would finally start to talk about categories — like their most frequent customers or those who only came in at specific times of the year — and we would start to get a better picture.

Those retailers were not unlike many other small business owners. They want to claim everyone as their customer when in reality, there is only a certain percentage of people who would use that business’s product.

One way to look at segmenting a business’s customers is to break them into users or choosers. Quite often it is not the users who are buying the product, but rather the choosers. Both audiences need to be marketed to, but in different ways — and the business owner must know the motivation to buy or recommend behind each segment so the marketing efforts can be successful. Realize that by knowing these motivations, the business increases its ability to drive sales up.

Business owners start a customer profile by letting go of the “everybody is my customer” myth and really thinking about who their most frequent buyers are. An owner should also know what motivates customers to buy and the product’s benefits and features. Here you want to learn about client values, attitudes and lifestyles.

The second step in profiling customers is to learn their buying habits — where they shop, spend money, spend leisure time, or, even more importantly, where they use your product. Knowing where they are using the product allows marketing to be not place- but time-specific, which increases the results of the marketing the business does.

The third step is to determine how many ideal customers are really out there in the marketplace. Knowing customer age, marital status, homeownership and other descriptive criteria will help in rounding out the picture of the top customer.

The final step is to start using this newfound information to better target your business marketing. Ask the question, “Who is my marketing currently reaching, and do they look anything like my ideal customer?” If not, revise your plans and change up a few things so the message reaches the right audience.

Call 573-243-3581 for help in determining the correct audience.