Who Are Your Startup’s Customers?

At this point, you’ve already done several interviews about the problem with your potential customers. Based on these interviews, you have a clearer picture about who your customers are.

However, you need more than just a blurry picture of them. To move on with confidence, you must present a better answer than just “women, in their 30s, with no kids.”

This is a good start. But, to properly answer to the question, you’ll have try hard to see all the pixels in that picture.

WHY IS THIS A FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION?

Because the best decisions about your startup’s value proposition, channels, customer relationship and revenue streams are “hidden” on your customer’s persona.

For instance, let’s suppose you need to design a marketing campaign to make your customers interested in your product. What marketing channels would you use? What message and tone are more compelling?

It will depend on who your customers are, their habits, preferences, hobbies, jobs, mindsets and more.

Therefore, your customer’s deeper characteristics will give you what you need to create, communicate and deliver value to them.

Another good reason is that not all of your customers are equal. Some of them will use your product in totally different contexts than others. That’s why your best decisions will be those that take into account your customers’ contexts and preferences.

FINDING THE ANSWER…

It all starts with your true interest on them as human beings—not just future sources of revenue.

Hence, you must start defining them as individuals, not just as a group of people with common traits. These customer’s specific definitions are called “personas”. As I’ve mentioned before, you’ll probably identify more than one persona as your potential customers.

In his book “X: The Experience When Business Meets Design”, Brian Solis presents several attributes and behaviors that are part of the persona:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Lifestyle and workstyle
  • Brief narrative (one-line summary)
  • Expectations of the product
  • Channels
  • Frequently performed tasks + desired tasks
  • Tools and touch-points used
  • Trusted Advisors and Resources
  • Pain-points
  • Goals and aspirations

Notice how specific and particular these attributes are. This means you’ll have to empathize with your customers, as they were a really close friend of yours. Putting yourself in their shoes is a constant exercise you need to do.

IT’S YOUR TURN!

Start gathering all information you can about your potential customers. Build a one-sheet profile of a specific person that represents well your customers. Remember, it needs to be specific!

Too difficult? Add a picture and a give your persona a name. Then, after finishing the persona description, read all his/her traits and see if there isn’t any ambiguous traits as: 20-30 years old.

When you’ve finished, come back here to our next questions:

What is Your Value Proposition?


Recommended Readings:

Business Model Generation

by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

X: The Experience When Business Meets Design

by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

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