2 min read

Who Are They? 🥸

Two Ways to Clarify Your Target Customer

If the person in this picture was your target customer, how would you describe them?

When I shared that question in Thrive School PRO, I got drastically different answers (all correct):

  • Ben: busy mom
  • Chantaie: strapped for time
  • Tracy: New mom trying to figure out how to do life with a baby.
  • Marisa: Single mom
  • Michelle: unhappy/stressed
  • John: stressed with lots on her mind
  • Mike: busy
  • Michelle: overwhelmed
  • Lantz: tired
  • Thad: overwhelm
  • Susan: the multitasking overworked mom
  • Becky: Over-extended parent
  • Hardy: Busy mom, with young children.
  • Susan: get food on the table
  • Hardy: She wants to get many things done

In the same way, there are many different words you can say to describe your target customer, but there are only two types of shared characteristics: identity or intent.

I learned this distinction from Joseph Bojang, and wrote about it in Survive and Thrive:

Identity-based marketing reaches your Target Customer based on who they are, or their demographics. So this might include age, gender, income, location, or any other range of metrics available. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are built for identity-based marketing, so if you are marketing an identity those platforms are probably where you should start.
Intent-based advertising instead reaches your Target Customer based on actions they take, such as viewing your sales page or following a competitor's website or searching "How do I fix a leaky faucet?" on Google. Google, in fact is the king of intent-based advertising, along with the second most popular search engine in the world, YouTube, which is also owned by Google.

Sure enough, if you look back at the many ways Thrive School PRO members described the woman in the picture, they fit these two categories perfectly:

Identity: Busy, stressed, overwhelmed, tired, and unhappy mom with young children and lots on her mind. A multitasking, overworked, and over-extended parent.

Intent: She wants to get many things done, but right now she is just trying to get food on the table and figure out how to do life with a baby.

How to Clarify Your Profitable Purpose
I don’t know Matt Emmons personally, but I cringe (for his sake) when I think of him. In the 2004 Olympics, Matt was competing in long-range target shooting as a sharpshooter with a sure shot (no pun intended) at winning gold. In the final round, he had so many

I've seen many people get stuck trying to describe their target customer based on identity and intent. If you can do both neatly, that's wonderful–but you can build a thriving business serving a shared identity or shared intent (you don't need both).

So, who do you want to serve, and build your business around? What is the common theme in their life stories?

How would you describe your target customer?