where all great marketing starts



For many owners and entrepreneurs, marketing feels like a mystery.

I’m talking – you just got approached by street magician David Blaine and he blew your mind with some crazy card trick and levitated in front of you – level mystery that’s leaving you saying, “what the heck is going on here?”

That’s what marketing feels like to most people.

In my opinion, I think many marketers do that on purpose.  They want you to think marketing is more complicated than it really is.  That’s why so many owners and entrepreneurs push marketing aside because they don’t know where to start.

So to create effective marketing, where should you start?

Does marketing start with a logo?…

A killer website?…

Or Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and all the other social media platforms out there?

Nope! Put all that aside.

If you want to create effective marketing, it all starts at one spot: your customer.

Not slick logos, websites, or the latest social media trends.  All great marketing starts with your customer.

That’s what I learned working for more than a decade at Nike.  Every season before we kicked off our plan, we started at one spot.  A consumer review.  Because great marketing is highly personal.  Nike reaches millions of people, and to do that they drill down to one specific target audience they’re trying to reach and build their entire marketing plan around them.

If you want to grow your business and create effective marketing, you have to start with your customer.


What most businesses get wrong about their customers

Most clients and businesses I’ve worked with do 2 things wrong as it relates to their ideal customers:

  1. They haven’t zeroed in on who their ideal customers are because they’re afraid to “miss out” on an opportunity


  1. They fall for the fallacy, what they do/sell appeals to everyone.

Here’s the truth: the friend to everyone is a friend to no one.


Why’s it important to identify your ideal customer?

1. You only have so much time and resources. 

Spread yourself too thin and you’ll never make progress with any one customer.  Go narrow to go far. Find your foothold with a core customer base.  Once you’ve built momentum with them, then start looking outside.

2. Knowing your customers helps you create killer marketing.  

What you look like, sound like, say, and do should all reflect who you want to attract.  Your brand isn’t just about what you want, it has to align with what your customers want too.  Or else they’ll never respond to you.

3. You avoid paralysis

When everybody could be a customer, nobody’s a customer. 

That’s overwhelming.  And when you have limitless options it makes it nearly impossible to pick a path to go down.  Where do you start? Where do you go? Who do you approach? That leads to paralysis.

4. You miss out on building a bond

Desperation is off-putting. So when you don’t take a stand on who you want to attract, it comes off as desperate. You’re basically saying, “please, we’ll take anything!”  

Nobody wants to date that guy.  Your brand is no different.

People like to buy from brands that “get them” and if you don’t make it clear who you’re right for, you’re missing out on an opportunity to build a bond with those customers that will looooove you.  Land those customers and they’ll the best marketing you’ll ever have.

Long story short, get clear on who you want to attract and the marketing seas will part (thanks marketing Moses 😉) and you’ll have a clear path forward on what marketing you need.


How can you identify your ideal customers?

It’s great to know you need to know your ideal customers but that leads us to the next roadblock, actually figuring out who your ideal customers are.

Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you think it is.

I’ve done this exercise with many clients and each time it’s always an eye-opening experience because it creates immediate clarity and provides a roadmap of where to go.

Nothing’s worse than feeling lost.  

To identify ideal customers I use what I call the F-F-P-P framework.  It’s a simple framework and exercise that helps you identify your ideal customers.  

Here’s how:

  1. Fans:
  • Who are your biggest fans?  
  1. Favorites:
  • Who are your favorite customers or clients to work with?
  1. Profit:
  • Where does most of your business (in terms of revenue and profit) come from?
  1. Pain
  • Which customer feels the pain your product, service, or business solves the most?

Take some time to answer those questions thoroughly, do a brain dump, and then see what trends, patterns, and similarities you see between customers.

Is there one clear customer? If so, great, that’s easy.

If there’s more than one customer type, are there clear segments? Meaning, can you separate them into unique groups of customer types each with their own unique characteristics, needs, problems, and solutions you can deliver?

Here’s a free resource you can use to help identify your ideal customers.  It’s the Customer Clarity Cheatsheet. Grab it here.

A few tips that will help make answering these questions easier:

  1. Have a client/customer list in front of you.  Seeing names helps with recall.
  2. Have a financial breakdown of where your revenue and profit come from (by customer)
  3. Include people on your team that are customer-facing (physically or digitally).  They will have keen insights for you, no doubt.
  4. If you want a shortcut, recall who your last 5 clients were. Having customers top of mind will make answering these questions easier.


When creating an effective marketing plan, most businesses want to jump to all the cool, flashy marketing things like their brand identity, website, sophisticated tools, and cool-looking visual assets but none of that matters unless you know who your ideal customers are.

In fact, without customer clarity, all that work you do in your marketing will be a massive waste of time and money.  

The businesses with the best product or service don’t win. The businesses that know their customers the best, win.

Get clear on who your ideal customers are and your marketing will go from “eh”, to “holy sh*t!”.

Bonus: With customer clarity, your products and services, sales, and customer service will improve too because it’s all created with your customer in mind.  Who knew one small step could have such a massive impact?


Discover who your customers are and take your sales and marketing from “😞 wah wah” to “ 💸 cha-ching!


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