October 20, 2021

The Ideal Customer? Four Easy Steps to Finding Yours

Two vending machines outside in front of a wall.
Photo by Nik Albert on Unsplash
932 words; 3 min 43 sec


Case Study: 

Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper do not have the same customer base. There are crossover consumers, but the companies know their die-hard fans, what they like, and why. While conversion of each other’s fanatics is a plus, their focus is upon increasing the base of their own. To do this, they must understand the unique pain points and value of their ideal customer. 

In this article, you will learn how to define your ideal customer and develop a framework that helps you find them. As your company grows and expands, so will your customer base and how you differentiate from competitors. Regularly repeat these exercises to provide value to your existing customers and attract new ones.

Step 1: Who is Your Customer?

In order to define your customer, you must understand your own capabilities. Define your hypotheses in terms of the problem you solve and how you are different. Check out our article on Brand Analysis for help. Once you know what makes you different or better, you’re ready to discover your customer. 

Consider this scenario: You created the world’s best knee brace . Your product is superior to your competition, yet you find yourself consistently falling behind them in sales. 


You must understand your ideal customer, inside and out. Discovering the unique attributes of your customer will be the most important work you do. These attributes will form an Ideal Customer Profile which will help to decipher the market segments you should enter and naturally lead to conversion of your competitor’s clients as you demonstrate value.

Market Analysis is required to define the attributes of your ideal customer. Your research approach may include:

  • In-Depth Discovery Interviews (including potential customers and Key Opinion Leaders or KOLs)
  • Extensive Research of Available Data
  • Surveys (Qualitative and Quantitative)
  • Focus groups (Targeted Recruiting Recommended, i.e. actual potential customers)


Who are our current customers?
  • How do we reach them?
  • What is our COCA (Cost of Customer Acquisition)?
  • What are their motivators to buy?
  • What are their price points or ranges?
What are their pain points?
  • Is there a current solution to these pain points?
  • Do they use it and if so, are they satisfied with it?
  • Would they pay more for a better solution?

Your customers:

You learn that your knee brace is mostly purchased by men in their late 60’s who buy the brace post-surgery. They learn about it from their doctors and are motivated to buy it to speed up recovery time. Pricing is not of great concern to them; in fact they were skeptical of the product because it was priced lower than the competition. They are most concerned with outcomes. They prefer your solution because its technology makes PT easier and motivates them to complete it, which other braces don’t do.

Step 2: Jobs To Be Done

Now that you understand a little more about what motivates your customers, you’ll determine how your offering fits into their world. Jobs To Be Done unearths where in their daily life your offering might make things go faster, better, or more smoothly. The better you know your customers, the better you can meld and market your product to show that it meets their criteria.

Using your market research findings from Step 1, continue the conversation with the questions below. Research involving different business models will require modifications to the questions asked. The questions below are labeled B2B or B2C (our example with the brace is B2C or when sold by a doctor, B2B2C).

  • What are the customer’s JTBD?
  • How do they currently perform these JTBD today?
  • What are the issues they face?
  • How do these issues affect their team/them?
  • How do they solve these issues today?
  • What is their number one complaint?
  • How could your offering make their JTBD easier or fewer?
  • What is the size of their team?
  • What technology do they use?
  • What are their company goals by quarter?
  • What are their company goals for the year?
  • How does your solution fit into these short and long-term goals? 

Step 3: A Deeper Dive into Demographics 

Now, it’s time to further segment your customers. We find it most helpful to use the following categories:

      - Contact role (Decision Maker, User, Technical Decision Maker, Sponsor, etc.)
      - Title
      - Industry (i.e. Healthcare)
      - Industry Market Segment (i.e. Healthcare Technology)
      - Sector (i.e. Healthcare Technology Wearables)
      - Age range
      - Credentials
      - Decision making power

Perhaps there will be market specific factors to include as you conduct analysis. Include what is relevant to your company as you move through the exercise. Creating a spreadsheet of sorts is a helpful way to contain this information.  

Step 4: Customer Profiles

Now that you’ve discovered your Ideal Customers, it’s time to create persona profiles. It’s essential to remember that while different personas may share traits, customizing your messaging by each persona helps individuals feel seen and heard. Take your top three largest, most profitable categories (i.e. CEOs, aged 30-40 working in retail grocery specialty foods) and build Profiles using the information you’ve gathered in your research. Use quotes, examples, etc. garnered from your interviews to illustrate what motivates or deters these personas towards or away from your offerings. Once completed, you will have the perfect framework upon which to inform your growth strategy.



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