Financially Responsible Marketing

Build out your customer strategy model: An analysis of your customer base

Posted by on Oct 7, 2015

In 10+ years of helping a wide range of clients to identify who their best customers are… and thereby their target market… and thereby their ideal messaging – I am continually surprised that the vast majority had the wrong answer before we started.

How is that possible? How could they not know something that seems so obvious?

My theory is that it’s because everyone goes by their gut on this issue, rather than facts and stats. While sales people and executives have ideas in their minds about who the best clients are, who they’d love to have as their Next Great Lead, they don’t actually test their notions against the data. There are a lot of pre-conceived notions floating around.

customer strategy model

Building out your customer strategy model is time well spent

Once you have identified your primary and secondary target markets, you know who you should be focusing on. Who you should be reaching out to. Who you should be tailoring your message toward. It’s a considerably more effective, efficient way of marketing, having your message directed to the people most likely to pay attention and act on it.

Basically, you want to figure out where you spend your efforts so that you get the most bang for your buck. People can be surprised by where their greatest revenue/margin/profit is coming from. And expenses as well.

Example: procurement wasn’t who they thought it was

One client had it hard-wired into their minds that field managers were the right people to speak with. But a little time spent in identifying the best customers revealed that it was actually the people in procurement. My client had various notions that the people in procurement had no imagination, no breadth or depth ­– in their minds, procurement looked only at numbers. A bit of research revealed that this was not the case.

So … how do you find out who your best customers are?

Now it’s time for a bit of detective work, combined with data collection:

  • Profile your customers by industry, annual revenue, total # of employees, age of organization, geographic location, primary user of services/products, primary decision maker who approved purchase, primary reasons for purchase, and key attributes in making primary purchase
  • Rate your customers on ease and cost of working with them
  • Calculate annual sales per customer.

Now you have a clearer idea of who your best customers are. Next:

  • Interview the customers that fit the profile of your target customers. Find out and complete the key information you don’t know.
  • Have a third party interview your customers. They will open up more, and you’ll get more honest feedback


Next steps: hone your marketing and sales efforts

Once you’ve clearly identified your target market, you can begin creating clear messaging to the agreed-upon role, in that market, in that industry. One client I began working with last year, a global consultancy, was putting their efforts into reaching the C-suite. But after our analysis, we identified that the plant manager and CFO of Tier 2 food manufacturers was their sweet spot. We changed our approach and our messaging, and the change paid off.

Extra benefits!

Identifying your ideal target market also helps you to understand what you’ve been doing right and what you need to work on. You can use this information to build a stronger relationship with your key customers. And as you continue to gather and analyze customer information, you’ll find it easier to reach your target customers.

Give it a try! You may be surprised at what you learn!