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In this post, I explore the following questions:

  • who is my customer?
  • what is my customer’s problem?
  • how does she currently solve the problem?

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 is my customer’s problem?

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

That brings us to the third question.

How does my customer currently solve the problem?

She hires a service provider (an agency or perhaps a freelancer, for example) who convinces her that his high-priced proposal will be the answer to all of her problems. Unable to tell the difference, and for the sake of simply getting started as soon as possible, she signs the contract.
Hoping she would soon feel some relief or joy from the increase in customer acquisition, my client soon discovers the hard way, yet again, that she is now presented with a new set of problems. These problems have not replaced the previous list I mentioned. Rather, this new list below is on-top of the old list.
This list is in first-person from the business owners I spoke to who are unsatisfied with the status quo.

  • too expensive without clearly defined ROI
  • hard-to-understand proposal – at first, I thought I didn’t understand marketing – my delusional mysticism made it easier to throw my money away each time with a new agency – “wow, this agency must be so smart if they understand how all his is going to impact my bottom line and increase my revenue because I don’t understand a thing of it.”
  • just to get started requires steep upfront costs which brings a feeling of being stuck in an engagement from day one without access to our birthright: autonomous decision-making and exercising our free-will
  • time-consuming which is not what I expected – why did I pay so much if I still have to be involved in everything? I have to build my business and serve my customers. I don’t have the financial resources nor the bandwidth in a day to manage two businesses when I was already having a challenging time growing one when there was only one to focus on
  • slow and complex process of day after day with no signs of growth, improvement, increase in revenue that can be attributed to the agency, and it is quite common for several weeks to go by – in some cases several months – where I am
  • 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.