I am always on the lookout for ways to develop a stronger team. To create outlets to put technology away and learn from human interaction. One team-building activity is to create a simple brand-building session. How? Ask your team to help re/define who your ideal customer is.

Defining your ideal customer can be rewarding if you take the profile of your ideal customer and put a plan in place to focus on that type of customer. Taking a shotgun approach and targeting mass markets have long-term challenges. Attempting to tap the mass market where most of the money and attention are has implications. That plan is expensive, ambiguous, competitive and often, a race to the bottom.

Here some factors that will help your team define your ideal customer:

  1. Industries
  2. Geography
  3. Size
  4. Long term value/Budget
  5. Buyer personas
  6. Buyer roles and job titles
  7. Problems they need solved/Pain Points
  8. Potential for account penetration
  9. Open to your insight
  10. Ability to measure your work
  11. Decision Making Factors
  12. Reputation
  13. Organized and focused versus last minute and distracted

Seth Godin says that we should find our MVA, or “Minimal Viable Audience.” The goal is to harness the energy of the smallest number of buyers willing to invest in you and yet, retain a sustainable business.

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Seth tells us to be “mindfully specific versus a wandering generality.” In doing so, we can influence our market, serve and nurture a customer community and likely, get a premium for our work. There is wisdom in creating an audience who knows you for being the very best at (fill in your blank). What can your organization be known for in a sea of sameness? If you discover what your team’s hopes and dreams are, you might just unveil an opportunity to pivot your organization.

The greatest outcome of specificity might just be creating a community that loves you and tells others about you. I believe the most valuable marketing is authentic, third-party advocacy.

Tip 1: Go deep versus wide. Invest in a very targeted vertical. This will help you develop vast experience in that space. You will be able to speak your customer’s language and truly understand their business.

Tip 2: Don’t look for customers for your products. Create products for your customers.

All of this is to say that I was inspired to write this after reading an excerpt in Brand Fuel’s employee training guide. It is clear that we have lots of work to do, but we are on our way…

Who is Brand Fuel’s ideal client?

Buyers of promotional products, custom apparel and online merchandising technology that will help our clients meet their goals. Customers are primarily creative, marketing folks who are juggling a myriad of responsibilities: print, digital, design, event planning, data analytics, filling the sales funnel, bringing new products and services to life, brand development and more. Note: we work with Procurement Departments but steer clear of “sort by price” race to the bottom RFPs that waste our collective time.

 We have corporate clients in all major verticals. This gives a deep bench of experience and avoids an “eggs in one basket” scenario. However, our experience is concentrated in healthcare and technology as well as purpose-driven organizations. Selling specific products and services to these verticals is what our Boston office says is, “Smaaaaaht.”

We do not typically sell to kindergartens, small sports teams, hairdressers or supply matches for your sister’s wedding. Great clients pay on time, are low hassle and work with, not against us when problems arise – and problems will arise. They don’t shop us because they value our ideas and strategic thinking. They love when we challenge them and ask, “WHY?”. They invite us to be an extension of their marketing departments. They introduce us to other buyers within their organization. They are active at (virtual) events/tradeshows where they are hungry for unique ways to get in front of prospects.

They recognize and reward employees as well as thank clients for their business. They have sales and injury-free workplace contests. They are BRAVE and willing to battle the mundane by daring to be different. They love their brand and protect it with their lives. They are beer-worthy. They care abour their staff, community and our environment. Again, they trust us. They appreciate that we are forward thinking, fun to work with, caring, customer service savvy, knowledgeable, committed, responsive, creative, the cat’s meow, da heezy fo sheezy…

 And remember…

Not every deal, client or sale is good. Divas and price whores aren’t worth it. Deliver value and know what you are worth. You are worth it.

So, who is your ideal customer? And how will you reshape your sales and marketing strategy?

Danny Rosin
Co-President, Brand Fuel