Positioning your Company to Appeal to your Ideal Customer

Positioning is the perception of your business in the minds of your customers. Customers should be completely aware and convinced of the expertise they should be relying on you for, so, in our messaging, we will claim this specialized expertise in a way geared to appeal to your ideal-fit customer. The research phase of the brand strategy process includes figuring out just who that ideal fit is and build it into the foundation of our work moving forward. Our goal is to start creating value for your ideal fit as early in their exposure to your company as possible.

Click here to read our article on content creation strategy.

Identifying your Ideal Customer - B2B

Click here to go a little more in depth and read an ideal B2B customer profile worksheet.

Companies

Loosely, our ideal customer is defined by:

  • How big is their company?
  • Where are they located?
  • What are they buying from us?
  • What is their buying process like internally?
  • How long and complex is that buying process?
  • How does the sale play out?
  • Who in the customer’s side is involved in the buying process?

Individuals

Though not everyone is a decision-maker at the companies we will be targeting, it is common that there will be a “buying committee” if the solution you offer is a long process that requires consultation. Those individuals at those organizations will be identified, defined, and outlined by their characteristics most likely to influence the buying process. We will be crafting a number of customer profiles to work with in crafting our brand. Criteria considered will include:

  • What are their responsibilities at the company?
  • What decision-making authority do they hold?
  • What are their personal goals, pain-points?
  • How do they measure their success within the company? Who measures their success? What are the challenges to reaching that success?
  • How sophisticated is their knowledge about potential solutions to their problems?
  • What do (Should) they value about you and your company?

Crafting your positioning language

After we have identified the ideal customer and their specific characteristics, next we must craft our language to position ourselves as expert problems solvers to the problems they face. This will be done in the form of a clearly defined proposition of value.

Positioning language is the messaging you will consistently use throughout your sales and marketing communications as you talk about your business to the outside world. Positioning language will be instrumental in establishing confidence with prospective and future customers. In the first interaction the customer has with your company it should register with them that you understand them and you have solved problems like theirs before.

Articulating your position of value will refer to 6 touch points:

  • Who do you help?
  • How do you help them?
  • What goals do they have that you help transform into a reality?
  • What are the most common problems you help them solve on the path to achieving those outcomes?
  • What products and services do you provide to help solve those problems?
  • What makes you different from your competitors?

Establishing proper positioning language will establish your specialized expertise and differentiate you from the enthusiastic generalists who, less convincingly, wish to appeal their services to everybody. This advantage will reverberate as a theme in all of our brand crafting, design, and marketing communications moving forward in our work and after.

Getting a little more in depth - The world beyond B2B: Retail

Let’s take a look at:

  • who your customers are,
  • why they care about what you do for them,
  • how they'll make others care
  • even what their friends will think.

When thinking about your customers or your target audience, try to avoid the temptation to say everyone. There are many brands that insist that every person should be their customer. While everyone may be the hope, the reality is no brand can effectively target everyone. Let's take for example two 17 year old males. Do they have identical world views or buying habits? Are their histories and cultural systems the same? Do they like the same things? Is what is important to one important to another? The truth is, these two may seem similar but are vastly different people and that's in the exact same age range. Imagine now trying to target a 19 year old and a 59 year old with the same value proposition and that's just using age as the primary collection.

It's common for brands to evaluate their products or services and begin to spin those into any demographic. What they're attempting to do is widen the potential net by shoving the value into their perception of what that demographic needs. When defining your target audience, it's a better practice to start with them, not you. Which type of person would benefit from your value proposition the most? You can use traditional segmentation methods like age, gender, position, education, geography or income but I have found that more human groupings can lead to better brand connection, groups based around interests, activities, or relationships. Think of it this way. If one person could walk up to you and immediately understand and desire your brand value, who would that be? How would you describe them and are there others out there like them? This is your primary target audience.

Once you've identified your primary audience, you can begin to identify secondary and tertiary audiences as well. Who are the next group of people who would benefit from your value proposition? Maybe not as much as the primary audience but their lives could be improved similarly. How would you describe them? It's okay to identify a primary, secondary, and maybe a tertiary audience but I would encourage you to limit your audiences to two or three for a very specific reason. You only have one brand.

You only have one brand.

The more unique and differentiated audiences you identify, the more watered down your brand has to become to appeal to all of them. Let's say for instance your brand is an amusement park. You've identified your primary audience as 14 to 22 year old thrill-seeking teens and young adults. What would the value proposition of the brand be to them? Most likely thrill and fun. So everything you make should promote that. Now, let's say you've identified a secondary audience of 40 to 55 year old parents who take those kids to the amusement park. What is the brand value proposition for them? Most likely a fun day seeing their kids enjoy themselves. It's less about thrill and more about family. Now, what's the brand proposition for both audiences? Is it thrill or is it family? You may be able to find a good mix but both ideas are lessened. Now, imagine you identified a tertiary audience of grandparents 65 to 75 years old. They're here to be outside, spend time with the family, maybe enjoy an ice cream cone with the grandkids. What's the value proposition for them? Connection. They're far more interested in the fact that they're anywhere with the family, not necessarily an amusement park. Now, how do you create a brand that appeals to all three audiences? You can see how each audience waters down the effectiveness and appeal of the brand because their perspective of the value proposition is different. If you find you have too many audiences, it may become necessary to converge those audiences until you only have two or three.

We have to specialize and converge your audiences.

Audience convergence means going up the ladder to find similarities between audience groups so that you can group them together. For instance, if your parents and grandparents are both there for family in someway, maybe they're only one audience and not two despite the age difference. Now, you're developing audiences around interest, not age and interest is a much stronger segmentation tool. However you develop your target audiences, start with the people first. Look for common ground around human characteristics to augment traditional groupings and have a deep understanding of your value proposition to each of those audiences.  

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