Defining Your Ideal Customer, And Understanding The Power of Data-Led Marketing: Don't Miss The Mark

James Gulliver
Posted by James Gulliver

Defining Your Ideal Customer - Netmatters

Every business has a limited amount of time and resource – this is especially true when it comes to creating proposals, quotes and presentations to secure new clients. In order to get the best out of the time and energy that you are focusing on this exercise you need to ensure the leads you are working with are likely to convert into business, and even better, that they are likely to garner a long-term relationship.

So how do you do this?  The answer is data led marketing and the process needs to start a long time before anyone even picks up the phone or writes an email to your potential customer.

Determine your ideal customer

Every business has an “ideal” customer, though defining them is not always a simple process. Your product or service is not necessarily going to suit every customer – and there is no shame in that! 

"Just because you can sell to anyone, doesn't mean you should!"

When thinking about your ideal customer, you need someone who can afford your wares and ideally they will return again and again for more. The ideal customer is someone who sees value in the product or service you provide and isn’t necessarily begrudging of the spend.

Size matters

The size of the business that you are approaching matters. For example, larger companies tend to have a more pragmatic view when it comes to spending money on a product or service. However, on the other side, a sole trader or small organisation might be keen to outsource a task in order to free up time or to become more efficient.

Whatever size your ideal customer is, they need to be realistic about their needs and what it is that you can deliver for them. Repeat business is important too, ideally, they will want to make use of your services more than once, or buy a product multiple times.

Simple service

The ideal customers are the ones that are the easiest to service, whether because of where they are based, or because you know and understand the needs of their sector. If you can provide your product or service quickly and efficiently then you can do more with your time and resource.


As a business, you need to make a profit in order to stay in business. Naturally that means your ideal customer will be one that allows you to make a reasonable margin. The last thing you want is to be in a fight to the bottom with your competitors, finding yourself having to reduce prices to stay competitive.

There are a whole myriad of other factors that may well come into play when it comes to identifying your own ideal customer.

First steps

The simplest way to get started in identifying your ideal customer is to look at your existing customer base. Look at your current customers and look at the criteria above – sort your list based on criteria that makes sense to you, profit, turnover, length of retention or something else. Once you have established this list of your top 10, top 50, top 100 customers you can analyse the data in front of you.

Begin by looking for the commonalities in the data, you could even consider a scoring system. For example:

A customer could get 3 points for being within 40 miles of your offices, 2 points for 40 to 60 and one point between 60 and 80.

They might get extra points for being in a particular business sector, or having a certain level of turnover. You might even give an extra point for paying their bills on time.

Once you have begun to understand the details of these customers, what it is that makes them “good” for your business then you can use that knowledge to target your marketing to businesses that “look like” these customers.

How to market to your “ideal customers”

You can start by identifying the reasons that these customers have for buying from you and ensuring your messaging is in line with this. Some of your proactive marketing channels such as telemarketing or business networking can also be tweaked to target these customers. 

Once you have understood the motivations of the individual customer types that are right for your business, you can begin to tailor your marketing to suit them. How you utilise your marketing mix will also be a reflection of your ideal customer. Once you understand more about who you are targeting you will have a better idea of how to appeal to them.

Starting with your audience first gives so much more power to your marketing campaigns:

  • Your telemarketing team will be better able to target their calls, their research will be more efficient and their understanding will be better – making them better able to build a rapport
  • Your ad words campaigns can be laser-focused, which makes them better value and ultimately more convertible
  • The time and effort you spend on your brand management will be better focused
  • The content you draft and share will be written with the right audience in mind

By tailoring your marketing to your customer you can be more efficient with your time and resource, spending less to have a bigger impact.

Developing business

If you can do the hard work here, in the early stages you can better control the flow of good leads into your business. This then means that your business development team are better able to focus their energy. They know that the hard work has already been done and the lead they are pitching too has a much stronger chance of converting.

Understanding the demographics of your perfect lead profile means that every effort put into your marketing is more profitable and is ultimately much more rewarding for all involved.

Find out what works, and keep doing it

This whole process is not a one and done exercise. It needs to be constantly tweaked and refined. Your audience will change with the times, the seasons and the economy. As new business sectors emerge and old ones die out your sector profile will change. Your offering might change, meaning you appeal to a different area of business or even when management changes this might affect your ideals.

This activity should be carried out on a regular basis, and your marketing activity should feed back into the loop, that is why it lends itself so well to digital marketing. The results can be instantly assessed, refined and adapted to suit the changes.

If you would like to talk to someone about the process of defining, refining and marketing to your ideal customer then please contact us on 01603 515007 or by filling in the form below.

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