This is one of the most critical questions for any product management person or a marketing person and further any sales person.
I have written various articles on this same topic taking a hit at it from various angles. Some people people call it the Ideal customer profile, some the single target market.
The critical issue is that person and what could be going on in the mind of that person which will make him think about talking to you, responding to your message, asking for your white paper etc.
Understanding this one concept is such a core to all of marketing that not addressing this one issue will cause all your differentiation be useless.
Inspite of so many years doing marketing, if I get this one thing wrong, my whole plan goes for a toss. Sometimes your colleagues will tell you that its such a small slice of the market so you should expand your attributes. Slowly you start diluting the ideal profile and the marketing becomes cluttered and the message does not attract anyone.
You also need to be clear therefore on who is not going to be your customer , so that when your message starts getting diluted your alarm bells start ringing.
Once you have clearly defined this customer – even in B2B – its a person whom you will need to profile, then the company, then the industry. What’s going on in the mind of that one person, who else is selling to that person, what could be the challenges of that person. There’s no doubt its more difficult to do this profiling than it’s to do for the consumer segment because there are many more people involved in a B2B environment.
On the other hand its easier to profile industries, loss or profit making companies etc. because that data is publicly available. In addition you have tools like Linkedin which can help you identify the colleagues of the profile, you can identify the statements made in the public by their executives etc.
Once you are clear on this one aspect, then the other things like the economics, the batch size of the market, the go to market strategy, the marketing ecosystem you need etc. become easier to handle.
Till next time then.