We recently were having a preliminary marketing strategy discussion with a potential client. One of my favorite questions to ask at this point is “who do you believe are your best customers?”
The committee responsible for this particular project was basing their media placement on the “traditional target” they had always used (another favorite). They understood their target demographic to be adults between the ages of 25-54. Graphically, it would look like this:
We were able to create some custom computer programs that mined their database to extract exactly how old the customer was at the time of the purchase. We eventually concluded that the age distribution was made up of younger males who purchased one product, and slightly older females who purchased a different product.
The actual age distribution looked something like this:
Don’t be fooled by averages! These are fictitious people that really don’t exist. It assumes that everyone included in the 25-54 age group buys the product in exactly the same propensity as every other person. How misleading! Most sales are distributed along some form of a bell curve. In reality, some age cells are worth more than others because those consumers use the product or service in a higher proportion.
The moral of the story… If your head is in the oven and your feet are in the freezer, your average temperature is “normal”… but you’re still pretty uncomfortable. Your customers are unique and what makes them unique is that they are yours. Get to know them… so you don’t lose them.