Are You Selling To The Invisible Man?

When we talk to business owners about their current customers, we tend to find they fall into 1 of 3 camps:


1) They understand exactly who they sell to and why, which is fab.

2) They think they know who their customers are and why they buy, but aren’t sure if their beliefs are true.


3) They have no idea who their customers are, so they might as well be the invisible man.

The problem with the invisible man is that no one really knows anything about him – and that’s exactly what many of our clients find about their own customers. Without a solid knowledge of who your customers are and why they really buy from you, a lot of your marketing efforts are doomed to fail. At Pickle Marketing, we help business owners understand exactly who their customers are, so that they can market and sell to them more effectively. But how do you identify the invisible man?



Everyone loves a good old fashioned survey – especially if it means a reward at the end. I think business owners don’t do enough surveys, which is why we encourage people to give them a go. You stand no hope of connecting effectively with potential customers if you don’t understand why your current customers are buying from you. So survey your current customers, as well as members of your target market, to find out how you can present your product or service in a better light. Make sure you cast a wide net to capture those you think might not be interested in your product or service, and use their data to shape your brand in a way that is more appealing. This exercise can be very enlightening - you could find that the reasons your customers are buying from you is actually quite different to what you thought.


Find Out Where They Hang Out


Part of understand who your target customer is is finding out where they hang out. I don’t mean in the physical world (though in some cases that is useful too), but here we mean where they get their information and where they network. Are they Twitter people, or do they prefer Facebook? Do they read the local magazines or are they a digital news person? This information will also be valuable further down the line, when you start looking at how to target your customers. But for now, find out where they are and, if possible, follow them! Watching what people do online can give you some great insights into why people buy, what processes they use to make decisions and where they look for new services. This helps you build a more complete picture of who your customers truly are.


Look For Key Data


To identify your target customers, sometimes you need to go back to the basics. So break out your whiteboard and start jotting down the key characteristics of your ideal customer. Write down:


  • Age
  • Income
  • Level of education
  • Gender
  • Race or nationality
  • Family status or size
  • Industry
  • What they spend their money on
  • What their habits are
  • How loyal they are to other brands
  • What their interests are
  • How often they spend their money, and how much they spend
  • Where they are based
  • What sort of area they live in


If you find yourself a bit stuck, the Office of National Statistics is a fantastic place to start finding that data, along within surveys and other market research tactics.


Never Stop Asking!


It doesn’t matter if your business is a week old, a year old or a decade old, you should never stop asking for feedback from your customers and your target market. Public perceptions, ideas and desires change so rapidly that the only way to stay ahead is to ask people what it is they want. You don’t always have to physically ask – sometimes you can pick up a lot of useful information just by listening to what people say and reacting to their feedback in the right way. From a customers point of view, brand engagement and loyalty go through the roof when they feel that a brand has listened to their thoughts and acted on them. So in order to build this positive feedback and a more successful business, asking questions and listening is essential!


It may seem like a time-consuming task, especially when you already have paying customers, but understanding who your customers are is one of the most vital elements of your marketing plan. Without this fundamental knowledge, you’re going to spend your entire business life trying to herd cats – chasing your tail and always losing sight of one customer as another walks in. 

At Pickle Marketing, we can guide you through the process of understanding exactly who your customers are, before moving on to how to target them and refine your message so that it resonates every time. For more information, just get in touch and ask about our marketing mentoring service.

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