Why It’s Silly to Assume That You Are Your Customer

They were creeping through the neighborhood in her M-class Mercedes…

“Why are we doing this again?” Dr. Bonner asks with one eyebrow raised.

Julie didn’t lose focus as she was intensely studying the houses. Observing the cars in the driveway. Looking to see if there are kids playing outside.

“We look suspicious.” the doctor continued with tension in his voice.

Oddly enough, Dr. Bonner runs a local dental practice, and he recently hired Julie to help grow his practice. To get more appointments and more people walking in the door.

Some of her ideas seem out of the norm to the doctor as they drove through the middle-class neighborhood of where his practice was located, and patients resided.

“Can’t we just run some ads in the paper or something?” the doctor tried interjecting one more time.

“Just trust me on this,” Julie finally replied.

But, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Once they got back to the office, she started paging through the magazines in the waiting room. Looking at the titles and seeing which have the most wear.

Like a real life episode of CSI.

What seemed out of the ordinary to the doctor, was Julie’s way of doing her job. To help a dentist get more customers, she needs to understand fully the customer.

Where do they live? What do they do for fun? Age? Single or married? Kids? Income?

All these things are important as every customer has different dental needs.


A practice in Hollywood, California will likely have a different marketing strategy than small town Michigan.

Obviously, this is a made up story, and I know nothing about dentistry. Lol.

But, the point is this…

To be able to sell to the audience, you need to know precisely who is buying your product.

The worst is when someone new with Facebook advertising gets taken to the cleaners (ahem). They try to target their advertising to a wide audience because they want to get mass exposure for their ads.

But, if a mortgage company is pursuing loan applications with ads, they are paying for every click or view. Meaning if their ad is showing to some eighteen-year-old gamer kid with no job living in his parents basement, they are still paying for it.

And when marketing gets more and more competitive, it is now more critical to have a message to market match.

I remember hiring a consultant and copywriter to help me grow my online business. For the first 90 days, I swear it was like we were sending out one survey per week.

He would always tell me he can’t sell my audience on anything until he knows who they are and what keeps them up at night.

Those surveys allowed us to understand the biggest pain of our audience and what kind of results they were looking for.


Now, I do this all the time. Even if it is just a little Facebook survey trying to figure out if it is a good idea to use a new mobile app to connect better with my audience.

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There are incredible free tools like Google Forms where you can build polls and surveys in minutes. Something you can automate in your online marketing campaigns.

You can never assume just because you like something that your audience will too. Or just because you use your product, that your audience will use it in the same way.

What might be surprising, is that usually a company will have more that one “customer avatars.” So yes, you might fit one of these, but your other customers might use your product in a different way.

Assume that you are NOT your audience, so that you force yourself to stand in their shoes. Learn everything about them.

Besides, the more interested you are, the more interesting you become.

By entering their world, you will create marketing pieces that speak directly to them.