She’s 48 years old (don’t tell her I told you) and is the marketing manager for a mid-sized company that manufactures pet toys. She’s been in her position for about five years and says it’s her dream job.
Recently, the company has experienced terrific growth and Emily’s busier than ever. She’s not complaining (much), though. Of course, it doesn’t take much to get Emily to crack a smile anyway. She’s a hoot. I mean, the woman is seriously funny. She’s also creative, incredibly smart and great at keeping her cool even in the most stressful situations.
The biggest downside about her job is that as the company grows, she’s spending more time at work and less time at home. As a single mom to two teenagers – Matt and Kim – it’s important to her that she spends as much time with them as possible before they go off to college.
Plus, she has two mixed-breed dogs, JD and Turk, and a tuxie cat named Elliott (did I mention she’s a HUGE fan of the TV show Scrubs?) that she misses cuddling with. She knows she needs to do something soon to take some of the work off her plate and free up more of her time.
Well, I could go on and on about Emily. There’s SO much more I could tell you about her and I know she wouldn’t mind.
Because, you see, Emily isn’t real. She only exists in my head.
Wait! Before you start backing away slowly, there’s a perfectly good explanation for why I created her: to write better copy.
This is the single biggest mistake companies make in their communications. If you only have a vague idea about who your ideal customer is and what their needs are, you’ll never be able to talk effectively about how your product or service solves their problem.
Sure, you may know that your target market consists of women ages 30-45 with 2.5 kids and 1.5 pets. But your customers aren’t demographics. They’re individuals. Talk to them like individuals and you’ll see the results.
So here’s your assignment: this week, put aside some time to get absolutely crystal clear about who your ideal customer is. Create a fictional character – like I did with Emily – based on actual demographics that you’ve gathered from research, surveys and conversations. Then paint a picture with information like:
- Name, gender, age and marital status
- Education, profession, title and income
- Number of children and/or pets
- What are their personal qualities and what do they value?
- What do they do in their spare time?
- What is their greatest pain or need that your product/service can solve?
The more specific, the better. You might even come up with a physical description or find a stock photo on the web that fits the image you have in your head.
Above all, allow yourself to have fun with this exercise. Really get to know this person and the next time you sit down to write, write as if you’re talking directly to them. You’ll be surprised how much easier, more conversational and more effective the results will be.
Your turn: In the comments, tell me in two or three sentences who your ideal customer is.