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Marketing Success Starts Here

Posted by
Feb 19, 2013 09:56am
Posted in: Small Business Advice


Businesses don’t exist without customers. You and I both know that. They exist to in some way serve and fulfill the needs of others. Without those needs, we have no business. Agreed?

Yet when was the last time you really considered who it is you serve?

Target Market or Ideal Client?

You may have identified your target market: everyone in your purview who could use what you sell. You may have taken it further and identified a niche market: everyone in your target market who fits specific buying criteria. However, when it comes to running a successful and profitable business, the critical piece is in identifying who it is you want to and can best serve.

In my world, we call this person our “ideal client.” The client with whom you have a strategic relationship, where you are considered the go-to partner for their needs, where the trust and commitment from both sides is high, information sharing is complex, communication is open, values are shared, and the relationship is collaborative. Your ideal client.

Take a moment to consider who this person is, right now, for one category of your business.

(Seriously… gift yourself with a moment… or three).

Have a picture forming in your mind? Good.

Let’s start building your ideal client profile.


  1. who they are – demographics: industry, position/title, age, income, geographic location, marital status, children, etc.)
  2. how and where they interact and engage – where and how they live, work and play, also called psychographics (or lifestyle criteria): what car do they drive, what they do for fun – socially or recreationally, what do they read, associations they belong to, do they have family, type of residence, etc.
  3. the problems, challenges, frustrations (aka “PAIN”) they face – in their “Perfect World” the things they wouldn’t have to deal with
  4. what they really want and need (as relates to your industry, or your product/service offering) – the magic bullet solutions that they’d buy or invest in if they knew they existed and/or you could offer it to them

(And yes, if you have multiple markets or product categories, each may have more than one ideal client profiles. Is there more than one target market for the products you carry? Then each target may have a separate ideal client profile.)

Don’t know the answers? Here’s how to find them…

If you don’t yet fully know the answers to these profile questions, the easiest way to find out is to ask your clients. “What? Ask?”  That’s right: ask those clients whom you would classify as your ideal clients (or, your “A” clients, your key clients). Make it your mission over the next week to find out as much as you can about who they are and what THEY need, and you’ll be able to improve your marketing and sales efforts overnight.

How? With clarity for your ideal client, decision-making becomes much easier as you’ll know exactly who to look for (prospecting), what to say to them (marketing message and value proposition), where best to reach them (marketing channels), and what they need to make their business lives better (product/service offering).

Focus is key when it comes to marketing, and it starts with knowing whom you serve and with whom you work best. Take the time to develop your ideal client profiles. You’ll be glad you did.

To your success,


p.s. Here’s a gift from me: an Ideal Client Profile Worksheet for you to use!


laraA little bit about the Author:  Lara Veltkamp brings more than 25 years of successful small-business ownership and corporate experience to her work that has enabled dozens of business owners to connect with their marketplace and achieve tangible results, quickly. She is the founder and Chief Engagement Officer of Watershed Marketing Group, a diverse marketing strategy and consulting firm focusing on the Canadian entrepreneur. Lara is the trusted marketing advisor, consultant and mentor to her private entrepreneurial clients running businesses from $100,000 to $10-million in size, across North America.


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