How to Determine Who Your Target Customer Is.

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Your customer is one of the most important parts of your business. You can have a flawless production and manufacturing system, amazing vendors, a beautiful website, and storefront but, if no one is buying, you are not in business.

Knowing and understanding who your customer is is a crucial part of running a fashion business. Whether you’re posting on social media, designing a new collection or pitching your brand to a magazine editor, it’s important that you always create with a specific target customer in mind.

Your target customer should be very specific. The more specific you can get about who your customer is the better you’re able to attract and connect with the people who are most likely to buy your product. Many entrepreneurs tend to think that by specifically defining their customer and narrowing their focus they are limiting who they can sell to. So, instead of focusing on a key audience they try to market to everyone. The problem with this is that by marketing to everyone, you are marketing to no one.

For example, marketing to Millennials (the generation born in the 1980’s to the early 2000’s) is far different than marketing to Generation X (the generation born during the 1960’s and 1970’s). The things that Millennials care about or think is cool is generally different than Generation X. If you try to market to them in the same way, you’ll have a far harder time being successful.

The brands that are dominating the industry right now like Everlane and Glossier are the ones that have taken the time to determine who their target customer is and have gotten to know their customer so they know what they want and what they'll respond to by buying. 

The more specific you can get about who your customer is, what they like, what they dislike, their budget, their lifestyle, and other buying decisions, the better you’re able to connect with them and help them see value in what you have to offer. When you know who your customer is you can create products you know they'll like, you can style your lookbooks in a way that will get their attention. You can write copy on your website and captions on Instagram that will entice them to want to follow along and hit like.

So, how do you figure out who your customer is? Create a target customer profile. A target customer profile is a breakdown of who you are marketing/selling to. It allows you to get really specific about your customer's needs/desires so that you can speak specifically to that person.

Start by asking yourself a series of questions to help you get a better understanding of who your customer is. Here are a few to get you started:

  • What's their gender?
  • How old are they? 
  • Where do they live?
  • What's their family life like?
  • What's their level of education?
  • Where do they work? Are they entrepreneurs or working a 9-5? 
  • What do they do for fun? 
  • What types of things are they interested in? Hobbies? 
  • What do they value?
  • How would their friends describe them?

You may find that as you create your customer profile your product might appeal to different types of people. For example, if you make leather tote bags you may find that your product might be ideal for college students, frequent travelers and new moms that might use your bag to double as a purse and baby bag.

This is called segmentation. Segmentation is the process of dividing the market for your products based similarities. College students, travelers, and new moms are all segments of the market that could benefit from your product. However, what each segment values in a bag may be different therefore, you wouldn't want to market to them in the same way. A new mom may value a bag made of waterproof material so that if the baby’s bottle spills it doesn’t ruin the bag. A college student may value stronger straps so that they can carry their heavy economics books around without worrying about the bag breaking.

The point of segmentation is to ensure that you market to each group effectively based on what they value and what would entice them to buy your product. Segmentation allows you to create specific marketing strategies for each segment helping you to better market your product and sell more.
 

Your turn: Take some time to brainstorm your own target customer profile and what he/she values and wants. Use this profile when writing all your social media posts, website copy, emails, etc to attract and communicate with your ideal customer.