To create an effective marketing campaign that will drive growth in your company, you have to know your customer—and this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

There are two angles to the issue of knowing your customer. One is to have a clear picture of your prospective customers. Who has a need for your product or service, is likely to buy it, and can afford it? For individual consumers, you’ll want to know their demographics—how old they are, where they live, how much money they make, how many children and pets they have. For businesses, you need similar details—the industry, size of the company, location, number of employees, and so on.

Equally important is that you have a clear picture of your actual customers. How closely do the people who are actually buying from you resemble the prospective customer your marketing plan is targeting? If there’s a match, your marketing plan is working. If you see a significant difference between your target market and the customers you have, you need to figure out the problem in your marketing strategy. Why are your marketing efforts working on a group you’re not targeting? And what do you need to change—your strategy or your target market?

Another element to toss into this equation is this: How happy are you with your current customers? Do you want more of them? Or would you rather have customers with different characteristics—those who will buy more, not be so price-sensitive, or that will be easier to serve? You have to know who your customer is before you can decide whether to seek more customers who are similar or to put together a plan to go after a different customer group.

It’s easy to adopt the mindset of just being grateful for the customers, wherever they come from. But it’s not good business, because it doesn’t give you the information you need to plan your marketing, do more of what works, and stop doing what isn’t working. Don’t have people buying from you without knowing who they are and why they’re your customers.

Author's Bio: 

JK Harris is the founder of Flashpoints Consulting, LLC, ( and of JK Harris & Company (, the nation’s largest tax resolution firm. He is the author of Flashpoint: Seven Core Strategies for Rapid-Fire Business Growth, a popular and respected speaker, as well as a successful business consultant advising mid to large-sized businesses around the world. For a free subscription to Flashpoints newsletter plus a free copy of JK Harris’ ebook, The Mindset of High Achievers, visit

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