We were talking about content for his website. The business owner was struggling with ideas. He’d begin to float an idea and before it developed dismiss it. “A lot of the time the customer just won’t open their mind to the idea of bringing in a new process or changing what the warehouse people are asked to do.”
When the conversation changed to what he was doing in his own business, the changes he had made and how those changes were making a difference – his voice changed, his energy changed, his patience with my questions changed.
And it hit me. The reason why the second conversation was more rich and instructive and positive than the first – he was speaking to an audience he believed was interested in learning. And the natural, compelling teacher in him began to emerge. He knew his audience (me) cared about what he was saying.
In the Duct Tape Marketing process, a lot of emphasis is placed on defining your ideal customer/prospect. From a pragmatic standpoint, it’s critical. The better defined your target it, the better steps you can take to reach the target. But it’s also critical from an emotional standpoint. The ideal customer is interested in what you have to say and values your advice.
When creating the strategy, message and plan for your marketing efforts, think of the ideal customer, not the difficult and stubborn customer that chewed up half your day with some petty complaint. The former will inspire you. The latter will dull you.
By visualizing the ideal customer it’s easier to write. By visualizing the ideal customer it’s easier to make the commitment of time and money to create and send out your message. When your output is targeted to the few who “get it” you will attract more of those kinds of people.
Trying to justify an approach or the value of products and services will drain you if you’re trying to convince a difficult, cynical bunch. You might be fresh and compelling your first couple of attempts, but ultimately the audience will wear you down. Conversely, when you are sharing and contributing value to an eager and positive audience, your own energy and enthusiasm grows.
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It sounds painfully obvious, but narrowing our audience is an uncomfortable move. We’ve been conditioned to believe in the safety of numbers, bigger is better. But that’s always been a false premise. There would be no 80/20 Rule if that were true.
My challenge to you is to banish the mediocre customers from your mind when thinking about your marketing. Take the time to picture the ideal customer. Give that customer a face and a voice and a personality. Think about them when you turn to your marketing activities.
At a minimum, the ideal customer values your expertise. Beyond that an ideal customer is profitable, and not in a mercenary way, but rather in a win-win way. You both profit from working together. The ideal customer is the one who vocalizes that they wish you had more products and services because they would prefer that you take care of everything. The ideal customer is the glowing reference and your advocate, referring you to other ideal customers.
On a personal note, I am in the midst of one of my own marketing campaigns. It involves handwriting a personal note to every one on my lists. If a name comes up, and I can’t think of anything to say to them, I’ve been taking them off the list. The fact that I cannot find common ground means that we’re not a good fit.
I want more of the ideal. I want that for you as well. Let’s find those ideal customers that we can fall in love with.
Copyright (c) 2012 Dawn Westerberg Consulting LLC