By Published On: June 18th, 20246.5 min read
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You know the score.

Business isn’t going as well as it could be, and you’re wondering why.

You’ve got a product or service that you believe in, all the experience is there, but somehow, it’s just not resonating with people.

Customers are going to your competitors and you’re shouting into the void, hoping that someone, anyone, will hear you and give a damn.

But here’s the whole thing: it’s not about you.

It’s about them.

It’s about understanding your target audience.

You can have the best product or service in the world, but if you don’t understand who you’re selling to, you might as well be trying to sell pizzas to the gluten intolerant.

If your business is not speaking to the people you’re selling to, if you don’t know their hopes, their fears, their dreams, then you’re just stumbling around in the dark, hoping to get lucky.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Consequences of Not Understanding Your ICP

You can’t even “wing it” with the best offer in the world.

When you don’t understand who your ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) is, you have no idea how to sell to them.

Your best guess is just that.

You could be throwing money at marketing campaigns that fall flat, creating products that no one wants, and watching your business stagnate while your competitors eat your lunch.

You’ve got to get to know your ICP, inside and out.

What Info Makes up an ICP


  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education
  • Geographic location
  • Marital status

understanding your ICP

(the study and classification of people according to their attitudes, aspirations, and other psychological criteria)

  • Personality traits
  • Values
  • Interests
  • Lifestyle
  • Attitudes
  • Beliefs


(the way in which one acts or conducts oneself)

  • Purchasing habits (how often they buy, how much they spend, and what triggers their purchases)
  • Brand loyalty (the tendency to consistently choose one brand over competitors)
  • Online activity (how they interact with websites, social media, and other online platforms)
  • Social media usage (which social media platforms they use and how they engage with them)
  • Communication preferences (how they prefer to be contacted, such as email, phone, or text)

Pain Points
(specific problems that prospective customers of an organization are experiencing)

  • Challenges they face
  • Problems they need to solve
  • Frustrations with current solutions
  • Barriers to success

Goals and Aspirations

  • What they want to achieve
  • How they define success
  • Long-term objectives
  • Short-term targets

Decision-Making Process

  • How they research solutions
  • Who influences their decisions
  • What criteria they use to evaluate options
  • How long they take to make a decision

targeting market efforts based on insights

By understanding these key aspects of your Ideal Customer Profile, you can create targeted marketing campaigns, develop products that solve their specific problems, and build lasting relationships with your most valuable customers.

Benefits of Knowing Your Customers

What happens when you actually take the time to get to know your customers?

When you make time for understanding your target audience, you can create marketing messages that hit them right in the feels.

You can craft products that solve their problems and make their lives easier.

And you can deliver customer service that makes them feel like royalty.

But how do you gain these magical insights?

You’ve got to put in the work.

Research, Analyze and (Wait For It…) TALK TO THEM

  • Surveys: Ask your customers what they think, what they want, and what they hate. Don’t be afraid to get personal.
  • Focus groups: Get a group of your target customers in a room and pick their brains. Bribe them with free food and drinks if you have to.
  • Social media: Stalk your customers on social media (in a non-creepy way, of course). See what they’re saying about you, your competitors, your industry.
  • Customer interviews: Have one-on-one conversations with your own customers. Ask them about their pain points, their goals, and what makes their clock tick.

Look for patterns and trends.

data trends in marketing

Identify common pain points and desires.

And most importantly, use this information to inform every aspect of your business.

Adapting Your Business Based on Customer Insights

You’ve surveyed your customers, stalked them on social media, and maybe even bought them a few drinks.

You’re swimming in a sea of customer insights.

But what the do you do with all this information?

Adapt, my friend.


Take those insights and use them to shape your business into something that your customers can’t resist.

Take a hard look at your products or services.

  • Are they really meeting your customers’ needs?
  • Are there ways you can tweak them to better solve their problems
  • Maybe you need to add a new feature, or maybe you need to scrap something altogether.

Don’t be afraid to make bold changes based on what your customers are telling you.

Next, take a look at your marketing.

Are you speaking your customers’ language?

Are you an answer to what keeps them awake at night?

If not, it’s time to switch things up.

Use those customer insights to craft marketing messages that resonate with your target audience.

Show them that you understand their pain points and that you have the solution they’ve been looking for.

It’s easy to get caught up in these finer details, but ultimately, don’t forget about the overall customer experience.

  • How can you make it better?
  • How can you exceed your customers’ expectations at every turn?

Maybe it’s as simple as training your customer service team to be more empathetic, or maybe it’s a total overhaul of your onboarding process.

Maybe it’s little loyalty gifts or customer appreciation days or an exclusive discount code.

Whatever it is, make sure it’s based on what your customers are telling you.

Need Some Examples?

Here are a few companies that took the whole “understanding your target audience” assignment seriously and nailed it:

  • Netflix: They started as a DVD-by-mail service, but they pivoted to streaming based on customer demand. Now they’re a global entertainment powerhouse.
  • Starbucks: They used customer feedback to introduce new menu items like the Pumpkin Spice Latte and the Unicorn Frappuccino. Love ’em or hate ’em, they know how to give the people what they want.
  • Airbnb: They expanded beyond just vacation rentals based on customer insights, adding experiences and adventures to their offerings.

You don’t have to be as big as these companies in order to look genius.

Netflix knows it's target audience

Just listen to your customers and have the guts to make changes based on what they’re telling you.

Tailor your product or service offerings based on what’s said.

Think of your business as a conversation you’re having, rather than a “you’ll buy what I have as it stands and be happy with it!”

Adapt your business to better serve your customers, and watch as they reward you with their loyalty and their hard-earned cash.

If You Don’t Know Them, You Never Will

If you don’t make understanding your target audience a priority, your risking the potential of your business at your own peril.

Think about it this way: your customers are the lifeblood of your business.

Full stop.

So carve out space in your schedule to do the research, to have the conversations, and to really listen to what your customers are telling you.

Try to understand their pain points, their desires, and their frustrations.

When you’ve gathered all those insights, don’t just let them gather dust on a shelf.

Use them.

Adapt your business to better serve your customers.

Your customers are the key to your success. If you don’t know them, you will never know what could have been.

Katie Rutten

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