Who Is Your Customer?

By: Brian Horn on: November 26th, 2010 3 Comments

I am a big fan of Trump’s show The Apprentice and one episode stands out.

The night The Apprentice teams had to create TV commercials for a new Dove body wash product, Trump should have canned everybody, gone out on the street and picked 16 new candidates at random. He couldn’t possibly have wound up with a more pathetic bunch of dunderheads. Still, some of the mistakes that led to these truly horrid TV commercials DO get made a lot, by smart people too.

For example, not considering WHO the customer is. I cannot beat this up enough: the WHO is far, far important than the WHAT, WHEN or HOW in marketing. Yet I often catch people far along with developing products, ads, sales letters, etc., who I can completely stump with my first three WHO questions.

No one on these teams even considered WHO is the primary, most likely buyer of this product. The team that made the pornographic cucumber/gay commercial had the woman lose the guy to another guy; the men went off arm in arm to presumably enjoy the body wash together, leaving her with the cucumber. Obviously the entire commercial was ill-conceived, but if you were going to do this, you’d have to assume the buyers are women, not men, so you’d reverse it all, and have the women go off together, leaving the guy behind.

For example, finding a PRODUCT BENEFIT to talk about. Gee, that seems really obvious. But I often critique sales letters with no benefit in the first four pages. Teleseminar scripts with no benefits in the opening. And neither of those TV commercials advanced a benefit. But – how many Super Bowl commercials can you recall now, and correctly ID both the advertiser and the Chief Benefit for buying its product?

You usually have to decide on one to no more than three Chief Benefits to fixate on, emphasize, redundantly emphasize over and over and over again throughout a pitch. It takes a lot of effort to hammer a Chief Benefit into the distracted, mushy-thinking skull of today’s prospect. Hard to do if you don’t know what it is.

Decide on A THEME. (Oh, and just for the record, when you deliver what you believe is the right pitch to a valid group of prospects and they don’t respond, you are wrong about the chief benefits they want – regardless of how much you think you know about the prospects. They are not dumb or cheapskates or lazy or whatever. Their lack of response is your fault not theirs.


Brian Horn, of HornDog Search Marketing, is recognized by many as the "Glazer-Kennedy Secret Weapon", because of his role in helping not only Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer with search engine optimization and social media, but also many of the top Information Marketers in the world. Brian shares SEO tips for small businesses over at at his blog, BeOnPage1Blog.com.

3 Responses

  1. Ray Higdon says:

    I agree with you and funnily enough, I remember that episode. Good stuff

  2. Probably the three most profitable words I ever learned…KNOW THE WHO. (no, not the rock band!) Know your customer, client, or prospect. Thanks for the great “Apprentice” reminder.

  3. David Rosa says:

    Great article, tons of people don’t have a clue who their customers really are. Everyone needs a little guide. Thanks!

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