Customer profiles are the cornerstone of most marketing strategies. They’re usually one of the first things you do when you begin to plan your campaign. I’ve gone through branding and customer profile exercises with some of my clients in the past. A question that always comes up is, why do we need to be so specific? They’ll say something like, “We need to target more people than just that!” They worry that precisely defining our target audience will limit the number of people they can market to. This, however, isn’t the case. People are a collection of Venn Diagrams. One person has many interests and demographic qualities. And these qualities overlap with lots of people, thus growing the audience to be much larger than just the targeted individual. If you’re a fan of classic rock, the picture below is a good example; if you’re not, here’s the song. Listen to it and come back.
The Steve Miller Band are famously pickers, grinner, lovers, sinners, jokes, smokers, and midnight tokers. So if you were to target The Steve Miller Band in your marketing, you would inevitably end up targeting a wide range of people. The Venn Diagrams of Steve Miller Band overlap with a variety of interests.
This handles the objection of “won’t it limit who we target.” But it doesn’t explain why we do it in the first place. And the best answer I can give you there is authenticity through specificity.
Your audience can tell when you’re pandering. Your copy will be vague, and while it will apply to your audience, your audience won’t buy what you’re saying. Remember, the audience can smell authenticity. The best way to be authentic is to speak the same way your audience does, and the best way to do that is to be specific. People relate to specifics. People see themselves in specifics. People are individuals; they are not vague notions.
Hopefully, this clarifies why you want to be specific and detailed when you strategize about your ideal customer.