Once again, you need to evaluate who your story tellers are. We did just do this a few days ago, but keep in mind that this must be an on-going process for your brand.

Here’s an example…

We run a bait & tackle shop near a popular fishing shop. Obviously, our customers will be somewhat seasonal. During the on-season, we see three different kinds of people in our store: Dock Dwellers, City Slickers, and Locals.

The Dock Dwellers are the ones who come in once a week, buy a lot of bait, maybe a candy bar or two, and spend their days sitting on the dock chatting it up with tourists. They rarely spend more than $20 in a visit and make up roughly 15% of our customer base. The City Slickers drive in from town, usually have more expensive cars and clothing than we do, and are baffled by the organization of our store (it looks nothing like Haggen). They spend an average $40 on candy, soda, parking permits, and bait. The City Slickers are about 35% of our summertime customer base. The Locals live in the area and their kids come over for dinner every once in a while. Their average $10 orders consist of the milk or eggs they forgot to buy yesterday and the weekly video rental for the family. They come by the store year-round and make up the remaining 50% of our customer base.

Three months ago, we decided the Locals were our perfect customer. They come by year round and make up the largest portion of our customer base. While they don’t spend much, they seem to keep us in business through their steady stream of video rentals. Over the past quarter we have lowered our inventory of bait & tackle, moving it more to the back of the store, and increased the number of essential groceries and videos we carry.

As we hoped, these changes have affected our earnings and our customer base, but not in the way we wanted. The Dock Dwellers now make up 20% of our customers, but spend only $5 a visit. In addition, they are no longer happy to see us and gripe on the docks about how hard it is to find our bait. The City Slickers make up only 10% of our customers now, and spend the occasional $15 on snack food. Many buy their parking permits at the RV park down the road and buy bait from the Dock Dwellers when they get to the river. The Locals make up the remaining 70% of our customer base, but their spending has remained constant at $10.

Remember, we defined the Locals as our perfect customer; but who seems to be having the biggest effect on our business?