Who is my customer?

Empathy is the compass I use to navigate the complex process of getting inside the heads of my customers to gain an empathetic understanding of their needs.

In this post I explore the following questions:

  • who is my customer?
  • what problem is my customer willing to pay someone to solve for her?
  • how does my customer currently solve the problem, if at all?

Who is my customer?

My customers typically fall within one of the following categories:

(1) leaders (presidents, deans, CEOs, politicians)

(2) lawyers (law firms in New Jersey)

(3) creative entrepreneurs (designers, photographers, artists, musicians)

I’d love to actively pursue as many customers at the same time. I must confess, back-in-the-day I tried to target different customers at the same time.

As you may have already guessed, my previous efforts to target different types of customers yielded unfavorable results.

Target the right customer to get found at the right time with the right information using my free buyer persona canvas

I’m exploring the above questions to cultivate a deeper sense of empathy for my customers.

Empathy is my compass

I need to get inside their heads to understand what their lives are like. I need to feel the emotions my customers experience. I need to know what it feels like to experience the problem my customer is prepared to hire someone to help her solve. I put myself in the shoes of my customer so that I may understand how to best help her.

Crafting a niche is the title of a blog post I wrote this week. The Crafting a niche post unpacks the personas listed above, and it also provides you, the reader, with a deeper understanding of how you might craft a niche for your own business.

Let’s get back to our initial question:

Who is my customer?

My customer runs her own business because she’s a natural born leader. She is open-minded to change and also feels comfortable voicing her own ideas. She is willing to collaborate with a new provider who is motivated to help her grow.

She feels like her marketing and design service providers aren’t growing her business at the rate she would like. She has watched a few years go by and consistently sees no or little return. She doesn’t mind paying a premium for services that impact her bottom-line in a measurable way.

My customer would like to know what her options are in the event she decided to hire a new provider. She will likely ask a friend, family member, or colleague to refer a name to her. Eventually, she will make her way to the internet for further research a potential solution to her problem.

My customer is willing to write articles, but is looking for strategic direction. She is looking for the right blend of expert guidance, planning, and repeatable processes to help her consistently create and publish the right content for their audience.

My customers often come from very different industries, but with similar problems. My customers also have common traits and qualities that are represented throughout.

  • Lifelong Learner
  • $200,000+ Income
  • Digital Native (age: 24-40)
  • Smartphone User
  • Self-Starter / Self-Motivated
  • Entrepreneur
  • Central/North New Jersey
  • Paperless
  • Open-minded
  • Leads by Example
  • Not self-centered or narcissistic
  • Collaborative
  • Willing to be involved in the marketing and design process
  • Transparent about existing internal processes
  • Provides access to review customer support archives and other feedback channels
  • Comfortable making online and mobile payments

I have answered my question, “who is my customer?”.

Now I will talk about the specific problems my customer is presently confronted with. I will use this list of problems and pain-points to source inspiration for ideas on how to package and deliver my product as a solution.

What problem does my customer need to solve?

Here’s a list of specific pain-points that have been shared with me by customers over the years:

  • Not enough leads
  • Not converting website visitors into leads
  • Not able to manage client relationships
  • Not able to measure marketing and design return on investment
  • Not able to write blog posts
  • Not able to update website pages
  • Not able to align marketing, sales, operations, and design with the business under one shared vision working towards the same success together

How does my customer currently solve the problem?

My customer needs to grow her business is willing to do whatever it takes to solve the above web of problems. She hires a service provider who attempts to solve the above web of problems.

However, a new list of problems emerges.

I asked clients to share their experience working with the current service provider (marketing agencies, design studios, and freelancers), myself included, who are attempting to solve this problem. Below is a list of responses regarding the pain-points experienced working with typical agencies, marketers, and designers in the past:

  • expensive
  • hard-to-understand
  • steep upfront costs
  • time-consuming
  • slow and complex
  • frustrating
  • scope-creep
  • independent of business
  • unreliable and inconsistent
  • built on opinions and assumptions about the market

The headaches, challenges, unreliable and inconsistent results experienced during a marketing or redesign project are the product of a broken playbook.

I am designing a new playbook.

It starts with the relationship with my customer.

I feel emotionally connected to my customers. Perhaps it is because of the research I have been doing.

I am motivated by the thought of seeing you, my customer, succeed.

I am driven by the excitement of growing our businesses together.

I am concerned for your well-being and want you to get the best.

I think of the relationship I cultivate with you as a partnership.

We help one another grow personally and professionally.

We inspire one another. We listen to one another.

I am grateful for the relationship we build together. For if it were not for you, my business would not be a business at all.

by Daniel D'Alonzo

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