It’s pop quiz time: right now, describe your ideal customer. Gender, age, income level, location, etc.

What did you come up with?

If you were able to give a detailed answer, good for you! You’re ahead of the game. Many of the business owners I have known over the years aren’t able to do this.

If you don’t have a detailed answer, you aren’t alone – and you have the opportunity to remedy the situation to gain an advantage over much of your competition.

But whether you can recite a profile of your target customer or not, let’s go deeper into the minds of your market.

To be able to effectively sell your products and your business to your customers, you need to know more than simply their demographic information.

Yes, the first step is to identify your target age range, gender, income, location, and affiliations.

But that’s only scratching the surface. Marketing is all about showing your target customers how the benefits of your products and services match up with their needs, wants and desires… and in order to do that, you need to understand their needs, wants and desires. You also need to understand how they perceive the benefits of your products.
You need to learn how your target customers think, how they talk, what frustrates them, what they are excited about, what scares them, and so on. And there is no better way to do that than to immerse yourself in their culture.

If you market to financial professionals, read their trade journals. Visit their websites, blogs, and message boards. Subscribe to their email lists. Attend their conferences and networking functions. Take individuals out for lunch and get to know them personally. Learn their language and do your best to understand the challenges facing them each day.

Then, look at your products and services through their eyes. Are you offering solutions to their challenges? If not, it’s back to the drawing board. If so, are you communicating these benefits to them in a language they will understand?

You can’t market effectively without first defining your target market, but scratching the surface isn’t enough. Understanding your customers on a deep level will allow you to push the right buttons while marketing your business. Don’t get lazy in this area. No matter how much time you spend getting to know your customers, you won’t regret a second of it!