Strategy

14th July 2015

Core Customer

Who is your core customer?

Do you know?

Can you describe her? In detail?

At Gazelles coaches we define a core customer as someone who will buy your product or service at the price you want to charge and in sufficient quantities. That is why knowing who your core customer is, is so very important.

If you are tempted to describe your core customer in a phrase starting with “anyone who” you are wide of the mark. Your core customer is not a real person, although it may be informed by one, or by several. Your core customer is not a group, although he/ she may be part of a group.

Your core customer is an individual. Your core customer is abstract, but that does not make him any the less ‘real’. If you were designing a car, for example, I suggest it would be important to have a specific individual in the forefront of your mind. What better way is there to make sure that all of the thousands of decisions that need to be made are made with a common end user in mind? Designing a car without a very clear image of the end user would result in something that looked like it was designed by several committees none of whom ever met or spoke to each other. Does anyone remember the Peugeot 504? There were no two switches that looked like each other or functioned in the same way.

It is important that you have a very clear picture of your core customer, because what you are doing is designing every aspect of your business to fit him like a glove. If you try to be all things to everyone there is a real danger that you will end up being nothing to anyone. So many businesses are created this way, and in trying to be all things to all people never really capture the market.

Peter Drucker said “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself”. How do we ever get to know ‘anyone who…’ that well? Of course an individual, albeit an abstract, is someone that we can get to know. We can know how she thinks, how she feels, what she needs and what she wants. Therefore we can design the product or service so well that it fits her and sells itself. As long as there are enough people like our core customer the product or service will be a marketing success.

I often think of marketing as being a ‘one to many’ activity, but it starts with having an individual in mind. I call that individual your core customer.

Can you describe your core customer, right now, in great detail and have you designed your business, your offer and your service to serve him perfectly?