Do You Know Your Ideal Customer?

Chart Targeting Success

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw the Cheshire cat up in a tree. “Which road do I take?” she asked.

“Where do you want to go?” was his response.

“I don’t know,” Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

“ — so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added, explaining herself.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cheshire cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

I’m sure you’re familiar with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. For me, that fragment perfectly encapsulates the problems of not having a goal in mind, an objective, a plan.

If you don’t know where you are going, any path will do, but will it take you to somewhere you want to be?

Why should you have a marketing plan? For starters, when you don’t have a plan, or when you have a cookie cutter plan template, your business is moving, but with no direction, and day-to-day activities may even be haphazard and reactive.

Some weeks ago I talked to you in one of my posts about Allan Dib’s One-Page Marketing Plan and how it is one more way to avoid wasting a business’s hard earned money. Starting this week, 8 Signal is bringing you a series of posts that will allow you to create your very own marketing plan.

Allan Dib’s plan can literally be done in a single page divided into nine sections. With it you’ll be able to map out your own marketing plan and go from zero to marketing hero. Starting with number one, the first section is…

Selecting your target market

It’s hard to admit that your product is not for everyone

Mass marketing is best left for national companies with big budgets that small businesses can only dream of.

Mass marketing can be harmful to your business and cost you more than it makes you. Let me show you an example: imagine an archer who has been spun around until dizzy, then blindfolded, shooting arrow after arrow in random directions, hoping for the best. You may be thinking, “Well, if he shoots enough arrows and in all directions, by the laws of probability, he’s bound to hit his target,” and I suppose you’d be right. But can you imagine how many arrows he will have to shoot? How many of them will be wasted?

Businesses simply can’t afford to waste arrows (i.e., money) trying to hit their target by flailing around with a blindfold.

Instead, businesses can generate more qualified sales leads at a lower cost with better targeting.

Still, when I ask business owners who their target audience is, I always get the same answer: “well… everyone!” It’s a common mistake. Many business owners worry about narrowing down their target market because they feel like they might exclude potential customers. But trust me, being all things to all people often leads to disaster.

Less is more for small budgets. To have a successful small business marketing strategy, you need laser-like focus on a narrow market. A laser-focused message gets more attention than a generic, watered-down message. By going too broad you kill your “uniqueness” and your product or service becomes a commodity.

Find your niche

As Allan Dib states in his book:

“Targeting a tight niche allows you to become a big fish in a small pond. It allows you to dominate a category or geography in a way that is impossible by being general.”

A niche is a small but very profitable segment of the market. Niches are created by identifying the needs and wants that are not being addressed by your competitors and offering products that satisfy these.

Expand to other niches

“Dominate a niche, then once you own it, do the same with another then another. But never do so all at once. Doing so dilutes your message and your marketing power.”

Once you’ve dominated your specialized market, there’s no reason why you should limit your potential. You can expand your business by finding another profitable and highly targeted niche, and dominate that one also.

How to generate your ideal target market

You know the power of choosing a target market, and now it’s time to select yours.

A great way of finding your target market is to use the PVP approach that Dib mentions in his book. The way you can use the PVP index to find your ideal customer is to find out what market brings you the most fulfillment, value, and profitability.

You start by finding the different market segments your industry serves and rate them on a scale of 1 to 10 based on the fulfillment they bring you, the value they give you, and their profitability.

Personal fulfillment – How much do you enjoy working with this type of customer? Here’s where you will be rating how much you enjoy working with this market segment.

Value to the marketplace – How much does this market value your work? Are they willing to pay more money for your work?

Profitability – How profitable is the work you do for this target market?

This is what a laser-focused target market looks like

Let me show you an example of a photographer. As most businesses do, he surely serves multiple market segments and his business activities may include:

  • Weddings
  • Journalism
  • Family portraits
  • Fashion shows

The technical aspect may not be that different between these, but each of those activities is part of vastly different market segments that bring him different value.

After taking the PVP approach, the photographer from our example may prefer providing his services to families because they are the most fun to work with and they provide the highest value and profitability.

His PVP index may look something like this:


Personal fulfillment

Value to the marketplace








Personal fulfillment

Value to the marketplace







Family Portraits

Personal fulfillment

Value to the marketplace








Personal fulfillment

Value to the marketplace







Who is your ideal target market?

Be as specific as possible about all the attributes that may be relevant.

  • What is their gender, age, location?
  • What magazines do they read?
  • What websites do they visit?
  • What are their frustrations?
  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What’s this person’s day like?
  • What’s the dominant emotion of this market?
  • What is that one thing they want or need above all else?

Unless you’re able to get into the mindset of your potential customers, chances are most of your marketing efforts will be wasted.

Allan Dib mentions a brilliant example — pun intended — that I personally love. A 100 watt light bulb, like the kind of light bulb we might find in our homes, is able to light up a room. By contrast, a 100 watt laser has the ability to cut through steel. Same energy, with a dramatically different result. The difference lies in how the energy is being focused. The exact same thing is true of your marketing.

Remember, 8 Signal is your marketing department, helping you outsmart, rather than outspend, the competition. Fill out our online form or give us a call at (915) 585-1919 to schedule your first consultation.

Photos courtesy of: tj scenes, clagnut.