Who Are You Shooting At?

There’s the old saying, that if you don’t know what you’re aiming at, you’ll hit it every time.  Do you know who your customers really are? A few weeks back, I wrote about one of four foundational growth elements - you can find the prior blog (part one) here. As a quick reminder... - Know “who” your business is - Describe your target customer well - Ensure the pictures match the words - Define a simply understood strategy

After knowing “who" your business is, the next key element is knowing who you are trying to serve.  While it’s nice to be able to say demographic or geographic information (income, gender, age range, etc.), that isn’t “who” they are.  That’s like saying the I’m a set of molecules, or organs, or even that I’m a complete map that you got from a series of medical scans and x-rays.  Or I am the sum total of the Census data of my zip code.

Most companies, at best, talk about their customers as if they had a picture of them on their desk.  Yep, there’s your customer - right there. In a frame - 45 year old female, blond hair, blue eyes, three kids, drives a mini-van…you get the idea.

But people have dimensions, they have a soul, they have beliefs and values and….they have a story.

To describe your customer well, you need to know what stories they have in common, what values they hold, what challenges they face, what they believe about themselves, about others, and about the world.  After all, isn’t that how you would want people to know you?

Don’t get me wrong - demographics aren’t bad.  They do help in the efficient purchase of advertising, in the placement of store locations, and in other decisions.  But how do your employees know how to treat a statistic?  Wouldn’t they have a better feel for the customer service they deliver, the web site they design, the type of invoices they should send, if they knew, really knew, the types of customers you target?

So rather than the mom in a mini-van, could it instead be sentences about the hurried life that Susan might lead?  Instead of the franchisee that fits a geographic hole in your coverage, could Joe be a person that values owning a place where his community gathers for a particular purpose?

Don’t shoot at a statistic...reach for a connection.  Learn and tell their aggregated stories so that you can see how your company fits…so that your employees can see them as they connect with them.  And maybe, through you and what your company does, they may ultimately see how they fit in His story.


MICHAEL POWERS - Before chairing a Nashville Convene team and becoming Convene’s Chief Marketing officer, Michael helped Asurion, the leading provider of device insurance, and Des-Case, a small manufacturing company, each more than quadruple in revenue (Asurion was over $1 billion when he left).

Michael loves to help businesses and the people that lead them determine “the next best step upward.” Admittedly, he’s a bit of a strange combination of left and right brain thinking, with degrees and experience in engineering and marketing. His blend of creative and analytical skills enables him to assess complicated, multi-disciplinary issues, create the right plan, and lead others to success.

Michael and his wife have four children, and have developed an additional passion for Haiti. He feels fortunate to have had great mentors along the way, and hopes to pass along a bit of what he’s learned to others to help them in their journey.