Developing a Marketing Plan? Always Remember the Customer

marketing plan customer

When developing a marketing plan it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of who your target customer is



The most important component of a marketing plan is the customer. A practical way to define your target customer, or market segment is based on your customer’s wants and needs, and their buying decision preferences.

The rational behind this approach is that when you define the needs or preferences of your target customer you can increase your success.  

Define the customer through the following marketing criteria:

  • Sales channel
  • Product
  • Price
  • Support, training
  • Services
  • Communications, etc.

When creating a marketing plan, a good rule of thumb is to understand the market segment you want to attract. Ask the right questions.

There are five as follows: 

  1. Who? 
  2. What? 
  3. Why? 
  4. Where? 
  5. …and When

1.  Who are your customers?

It’s important to understand the title and characteristics of the people making the buying decision.

How do your customers make their decisions? This often includes significant influences at various points during the purchase decision process. Understand who are those “influencers”.

You also need to understand the key characteristics of the businesses (industry or sector, B2B or B2C) that are most  likely to be represented by these decision makers.

2.  What do they want to buy?

What are your product’s attributes that are preferred by the buyers in the market place:

  • Functions and features
  • Pricing and T’s & C’s

What other related requirements are they interested in, e.g. service level agreements, training and support?

3.  Why are they buying?

What are the driving forces that are motivating their interest and influencing their decision to buy?

4.  Where do they buy?

What are their primary information sources?

Do they have preferred sources for achieving pre-sale, sale, fulfillment and post sale needs?

5.  When do they buy?

  • What are the circumstances surrounding their initial interest and the decision to buy?
  • What is their fiscal year?
  • What external factors exist to influence the timing of their decision to buy?

The more you understand the wants and needs, and buying preferences and criteria of your customer, the more robust your marketing plan will be. 

Related articles:

Top Ten Marketing Pitfalls

8 Components of Successful Small Business Marketing Plan

What Do Small Business Customers Want?

Building the Case for Video Marketing


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