You have a good marketing plan. You have a strong strategy team. Your marketing department is devoting a lot of resources to the company’s marketing activities. However, you do not see the impact of these activities on sales. Or maybe, there’s impact but not as much as you had expected. This is no one-size-fits-all solution, but you may have to look again at your customer base and your understanding of who they are. Who is your customer? Can you describe your typical costumer to some stranger using five words?

Like business people always say, the customer is the heart of the business. This is true on many levels. If you like, you can make all the plans and hire the best people in the world, if these activities are not rooted in a deep understanding of the market, of your customers and their preferences and consumption culture, then your business may be heading for a dead end.

Understanding the customer is not easy but it’s also not too difficult. It requires some research, going to the market, listening to the market as it changes and moves, staying up to date. Some marketing specialists recommend the process of marketing segmentation, which is a great way of targeting customers based on certain characteristics. It can be a good means of choosing the right customers to focus on. Who are the customers that contribute the most to the business? Some specialists say about 20% of the customers account for 80% of the business, an ideology referred to as the Pareto principle.

According to the Pareto Principle, more attention should be given to this 20%. But this ideology is not ultimate. What is even more important is that the organization studies and understands the different customer segments in the market for its product/service and targets marketing communication based on these segments. Market segmentation often requires finding out the characteristics of the buyers and their buying behaviour. In simple terms, who buys? What do they buy? And why do they buy what they buy? Finding answers to these questions helps the company have a firm grip on the market.

Again, we revert to the question of describing your customer in five words. What five different customers need your product and what five words can you use to describe each of these customers?