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Creating Your Ideal Customer Profile

A farmer and customer discussing products in an indoor market.

November 9, 2022

One of the most effective ways to tailor your marketing strategy is to create your Ideal Customer Profile. This is a detailed description of the type of individual who you would most like to sell to and who is best served by what only you can offer.  

Your Ideal Customer Profile tells the story of this individual, identifying specific pain points (issues they need solved, things that frustrate or bother them, things in their life or the world they are unhappy about), demographic information, and purchasing behaviors, all for the purpose of targeting similar customers in your marketing campaigns. 

This process works for both direct-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing, but our example today will focus on individual consumers. 

Why create an Ideal Customer Profile? 

It may seem counterintuitive but identifying a niche and narrowing your target audience can help you reach and attract more customers – and keep them for longer. Humans receive an incredible amount of information and stimulus through our senses every moment of every day. In addition to all the sights, sounds, and smells around us, Americans are exposed to an average of 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements per day. If you want to stand out, you need to speak directly to your customers’ individual values, challenges, and goals. 

Have you ever noticed how when you’re in the market for a new car you start seeing that car everywhere? It suddenly seems like every third car on your morning commute is the one you are thinking about buying. This is due to a part of the brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS acts as a filtration system for all this information coming through our senses, allowing only what is most important to rise to our conscious mind and sending the rest into our subconscious. Without it, we would be completely overwhelmed and unable to focus on what is most important. When you spend a lot of time thinking about purchasing a certain vehicle, your brain tags it as important and makes sure it makes its way to your conscious awareness.  

This same process is happening in the mind of your customers. When you speak directly to their specific needs and desires, your marketing campaign is more likely to make it into their conscious awareness rather than gathering as background noise. When you try to reach everyone or solve everyone’s problems, you dilute your message to the point that it loses its value to potential customers. 

Identifying Your Ideal Customer  

Take some time to answer (in writing!) the following questions to begin to build a picture of your ideal customer in your mind. 

  • How old are they? 

  • Where do they live? 

  • What is their gender identity? 

  • What is their education level? 

  • Are they married, divorced, single, etc.? 

  • Do they have kids? 

  • What do they value? 

  • Where do they spend their discretionary income? 

  • What other types of products do they regularly purchase? 

  • How did they find you? 

  • What social media platforms do they use? 

  • What problem do they have that you are able to solve? 

  • What social issues are they passionate about? 

  • What are their hobbies? 

  • How do they want to feel after working with you/purchasing your product or service? 

If you are already in business, you could start by figuring out who is currently most likely to buy from you. Are there certain people who are using a wide variety of your products or who are buying from you regularly? If so, send out a survey to those folks or ask to interview them. You can be transparent and let them know that you want to get to know your customers better so that you can better anticipate and meet their needs. 

Building Your Ideal Customer Profile 

The final step is to synthesize this information and create a profile of your ideal customer. Give them a name. Find a picture of what you think they look like. Write down the story of their life and how they came to search for a product or service like yours. Highlight their most important demographic information, pain points, values, and how you can solve their problem. 

Print this out and put it up in your workspace. From now on, as you write marketing copy, imagine you are speaking directly to this person.  

To effectively market, sell to, and support your customers, you need to understand them and get to know them. Knowing who you serve and speaking directly to their needs and desires will build trust with your customers and keep them coming back.

 

Thanks for reading the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets’ Marketing and Agritourism Blog! I’m your host, Kristen Brassard. I’m an Agriculture Development Specialist focused on marketing and events for farm and food businesses. I graduated with a master’s degree in Food Systems from the University of Vermont in 2021 and have nearly ten years’ experience in marketing and events planning. Stay tuned every other week for tips on marketing and incorporating agritourism practices on your farm. Be sure to sign up for our weekly Agricultural Development Newsletter so you never miss a post!

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