Last week at this time I sat down to write a post about targeting and it turned into quite a research project all by itself. It started innocently enough by me asking if what your ordered at Starbucks or the local pub said something about you that a marketer could use. (The comments are way better than my post)
The simple answer is, of course it does. And if you could look inside a prospect’s car (of course just knowing the make and model would reveal something) and see that clutter you would know even more, if you could visit your prospect’s house and have them tell you about their favorite outfit or shoes, you would know even more, if you could spend a few minutes reading what’s on your prospect’s refrigerator, you would know even more.
The point is that your prospects and customers do things, act in certain ways, that can help you identify them as ideal prospects and customers. The trick is to pay attention closely enough to see the behavior that I call their key strategic behavior. Discover it and it’s like getting them to raise their hand to be called on.
Now, in all likelihood, if were able to do the kind of research mentioned above you might actually learn more than you want to know, but it’s also completely impractical to think that you could ever gain that kind access to your customer’s behavior.
But, the good news is that there are very public things that your prospect’s and customers might do that can be great indicators if you start to analyze them.
- I discovered long ago that business owners who participated at an officer level in local and national organizations related to their industry are more likely to have an interested in long term solutions rather than quick fixes.
- I discovered that business owners who actively participated in groups like Rotary are more likely to embrace the idea of referrals and networking.
- I discovered that business owners who sought out professional, but perhaps a bit more entrepreneurial, service providers such as CPAs, attorneys and bankers, were more willing to explore innovative approaches.
I know these are pretty broad generalizations, but they are fairly accurate markers of behavior. They helped me identify a prospect I knew I could work successfully with in a matter of minutes. So, take a look at your current ideal customers with an eye on identifying your key strategic behavior, something you can know about them, that is also a pretty good indicator of what type of customer they might be. If you can get this step right it can change who your target and what you say in all of your communications.
Dig deep in this exercise and get a bit creative, think club membership, community participation, hobbies, reading likes, Starbucks drink, even pet ownership. I once had a customer that came to the conclusion that all of her ideal customers owned big dogs – it’s not really that far fetched of an idea! (puns are always intended here.)
So, what behavior have identified as telling from a marketing perspective?