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Great Customer Strategies Look to Behavior

by Hank Barnes  |  May 14, 2019  |  Submit a Comment

Focus is important to any successful strategy, particularly in terms of identifying segments and ideal customer profiles.   The phrase “we appeal to customers of all sizes” is, more often than not, a warning sign for a faulty strategy based on hope.   On the other hand, we also hear TSPs tell us that they are focused on a specific geography, or size of business, or industry.   That is better.

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That level of focus can help you use the right language, understand regional or industry regulations, and have more clarity around the potential addressable market.

But it is not enough.  Not nearly enough.

The problem is that within particular size of business or countries or industries, companies behave quite differently.   Some want to be leaders, others are fast followers.   Some pursue technology for  competitive advantage, others look to it for efficiency.   While you may have the industry language right, for example, you might be using other terms that don’t resonate with many of those targets.  Or, you’ll water everything down and not appeal to anyone.

What can help is going a level or two deeper.   Looking at attitudes and behaviors.   You can do this generally, just by capturing other characteristics of your ideal customers (e.g. “They prefer to avoid customization and development costs”) or you can get more specific, using something like Gartner’s Enterprise Technology Adoption (ETA) Profiles that categorize companies based on their attitudes toward technology adoption.

When we survey technology buyers and include questions to assess their ETA profile, it continues to be the most revealing “data cut” of anything we do.   For consumers, the best personas look at how their ideal customer thinks and feels, what they aspire to be, and how they would like to be perceived.  Many of those same elements apply to organizational decisions.

As you think about your targets, always go deeper than “we have solutions for insurance companies” or “we target the mid-market.”  Instead,  say “we target insurance companies that want to be first to market with new products” or “we target mid-market companies that have internal development teams to build custom applications.”  Or go even deeper.  As you do so, use those refined perspectives to tailor your language, your stories, your marketing campaigns, and your sales efforts to make it clear “we understand your organization and we fit your organization.”

Find your perfect fit. Great results should follow.


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Category: go-to-market  

Tags: attitudes  behavior  ideal-customer-profile  personality  segmentation  

Hank Barnes
VP Distinguished Analyst
6+ years at Gartner
30+ years IT Industry

Hank Barnes explores the dynamics, challenges, and frustrations enterprises face when buying technology products and services. Using that customer-centric lens, he advises those responsible for marketing technology products and services, general managers responsible for product portfolios, and startup CEOs on next practices to drive success for their customers and their business. Read Full Bio

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