Targeting Your Best Customers Improves Your Marketing Plan Success

Originally written for Web Site Marketing Plan; By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Your best customers are those customers who purchase frequently enough, the products or service you provide, to be profitable. This type of customer generates regular income and is a very desirable customer for your business. Making an effort to target customers like these will rapidly increase your income while creating stability for your organization.

While a marketing plan outlines general characteristics of your customer base, only by concentrating action on your best customers will you achieve the greatest returns. While your marketing plan provides guidelines for marketing, knowing who your best customers are helps you turn those guidelines into actionable steps relevant to these customers needs. Relevancy is the key. The more your message talks to the needs of your best customers, the more likely they are to listen to you.

Since your best customers have to be found, here is a simple strategy for identifying them. This method can help you develop details for your marketing plan and support plan implementation. Based on a method often used in direct mail, Recency-Frequency-Monetary (RFM) measurements can provide a simple but accurate picture of your best customers.

  1. Get a list of all customers sorted by Recency. Recency is the number of days since a customer last purchased. Sort this list with the most recent first. (For each of these reports, if you have many customers just get the first two pages or those in the top quintile.)
  2. Get lists of all customers sorted by Frequency (number of individual purchase transactions) and Monetary (total dollar of purchases), these lists should be sorted in descending order.
  3. Compare each list selecting those customers who are in the top of each list. These customers represent your best customers.

While this is a simplistic method for determining your best customers, it works well for most companies to improve customer targeting. The method that will work best for your organization may be more complex. For now, just gather the customers as identified here.

Armed with this list of your best customers, it is time to learn more about their needs to enhance your plan and fuel your targeting efforts. To learn more about your best customers use the three-step extraction plan, of which you have already completed step one.

  1. Identify -- using the method described earlier, the key is to simplify your customer list to those most constructive to your company.
  2. Survey -- in order to target you must know what this group wants, desires, and needs to reach their own business objectives.
  3. Test -- putting what you have learned about your best customers into action with your marketing plan. Note those things that work and those actions that did not.

Implement this three-step extraction plan repeatedly; best done quarterly if your market dynamics change frequently, but can be done as little as once a year for more stable markets. The key is to survey your customers´┐Ż regularly, highlighting the concerns of your best customers in your implementation. This process gives you rich details about what your market wants so you may give it to them.

You will want to concentrate on your best customers for a number of reasons. These reasons include:

Orienting all of your marketing communications to speak directly to these individuals will help you achieve your business objectives quickly. Most importantly use your website to target these individuals (a website is extremely flexible and is easier to track than other marketing communications.) The more you know about your best customers, the more you can provide a message that conveys your products benefits to them.

You can significantly improve your targeting on-line by providing what your best customers say they want. Your content and site structure can further support their needs giving them a reason to return for future visits. In today's economy, your website serves as a gateway for your best customers to get more out of their relationship with you.

While you now have a usable strategy for identifying and learning more about your best customers, consider what constitutes marketing plan success. It is simple; your marketing plan will contain certain objectives for a certain period of performance. Meeting these objectives before the period defined is success -- it sounds very simple, but so few create a usable plan yet alone targets their best customers.

Not any customer will do; in fact, your best customers will change overtime due to seasonal conditions, changes in your industry, or even your company is perceived value. Each quarter when you revisit your marketing plan, you should recalculate a list of your best customers. While the criteria for selecting best customers may not change, you will soon notice how dynamic this list can become.

Through out the year you will benefit from contact these best customers and prospects with characteristics similar. Using what you learn about this elite group can be used to place advertisements, promote your company, or even gain new customers. This endless cycle of continual improvement means big growth for your organization.

Targeting your best customers solidifies your niche while making your marketing plan easier to implement. This entire strategy orients your company towards those most likely to purchase. You will fulfill the objectives of your marketing plan and success will be yours -- now get out there and let your best customers know you are here for them.

© 2002 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
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Justin Hitt is a strategic relations consultant and the author of "How to Get more Profits by Cultivating Your Best Customers". Clients include business owners and executives of medium to large companies worldwide. He can be reached at

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