They may say I am a dreamer.
But I am damn sure that artisan chocolatiers and chocolate makers will one day take over the market, forcing giants like Hershey’s, Mars and Nestlè to fall back on the ceramic pot industry for the sake of the environment and the health of us all.
How will that be possible?
Artisan chocolate professionals will be extremely successful once they finally start spending more time in STRATEGIC THINKING than they do in chocolate making.
The brutal truth is that customers don’t care about how much time you spent identifying the perfect conching time, or the immense effort you had to put to balance the acidity in your new fruity ganache. If you don’t know how to sell your product in an attractive way like big companies do, customers will never know the greatness of your chocolate. What a pity!
It is time to put down the bench scraper, get away from your chocolate laboratory and dedicate some time to strategic thinking.
Today we talk about identifying the PERFECT CUSTOMER.
There is no perfect customer for the entire artisan chocolate market. But there is a perfect customer for your chocolate company. Try answering the question in the title but referred to your chocolate brand: how does YOUR perfect customer look like? If you don’t have an answer, your business might be in big troubles. No worries though, we are going to find it out.
Let me take you with me in a virtual marketing consultation, and we’ll start with the following quote from the book “Positioning” by Al Reis and Jack Trout, a marketing classic:
“IF YOU ARE SELLING TO EVERYBODY, YOU ARE SELLING TO NOBODY.”
Everybody loves chocolate. But your chocolate is not for everybody.
The fact that chocolate is a food adored by many doesn’t mean that your target is whoever enters your door. You MUST sit down and think about who your target is, who your chocolate is most suitable for, who your major spending customer is. This is extremely important for a company’s success. Why?
- It is the only way to perfectly craft your message. Because advertising for teenagers can’t be the same one for adults. And you can’t use the same language for working class and CEOs. Or expect the same message to be attractive for both men and women.
- It tells you where and how to find your target. Because Social Media might not be the best place to target seniors. And paper flyers won’t reach the attention of Millennials.
There is nothing more efficient, time-saver and money generator than knowing your target. So if you had to imagine the PERFECT CUSTOMER for your chocolate walking into your store right now, how would he/she look like?
Try thinking about it in terms of:
- Age, gender, education, profession, family situation, income
- Personality, values, preferred activities
- Behaviors towards the purchase of chocolate, perception of chocolate, use of chocolate
- Geographic location
The more detailed you are, the more you have clear in mind the customer profile you want to sell to, and the better you can target it. This enables you to know exactly WHERE to find your customers, HOW to reach them and with WHAT message.
Here is an example of a Target Market I had to come up with for a fictitious chocolate brand for one of my old marketing classes back in college.
The chocolate brand I imagined would sell organic, direct-trade, bean-to-bar dark chocolate.
As you can see, after identifying my customer’s profile, I am able to know exactly where to find him/her.
I could for example decide to partner up with a yoga studio, sell at the closest farmer’s market, sponsor a local bike competition, push PR initiatives to be featured in health magazines, contact people that host chocolate tastings.
If your chocolate is instead peculiar because of its incredible design, your target might be creative freelancers and art aficionados. So you can decide to partner up with local museums, give a speech in art classes, host runaways in your store, be featured in design magazines, hold tastings in art galleries.
Identifying your target is the action with the highest ROI (Return On Investment) that you can possibly take. It makes you save A LOT OF MONEY because you don’t waste resources on the wrong people in the wrong places with the wrong message. All your time and efforts are instead put in the right direction and will reward you sooner than you think.
Bear in mind that having a very narrowed target won’t decrease your potential sales. Quite the opposite. It will give you the chance to better serve your BEST customers, those who can identify their values and lifestyle with your brand, who will regularly spend in your products, whom loyalty will be hard to break. I don’t know about you, but I will take 100 loyal readers that are the perfect audience for my articles over 1000 one-time passing by readers.
Like everything in life, you don’t attract what you want. You attract what you are. Therefore, if you are confused about who should buy your chocolate, you are going to attract confused customers that won’t stick around for long. The more precise you are in visualizing the perfect customers, the more you will see them stepping in your store over and over again thanks to sharp targeted strategies.
Therefore, take 20min away from your chocolate factory, head to the office and write down the characteristics of what you believe would be the perfect customer for your chocolate (help yourself with the list I gave you above). I guarantee you that after you are done brilliant ideas on how to better sell your chocolate will start flowing.
Have YOU ever thought about the perfect customer for your artisan chocolate?
I did NOT get paid and did NOT receive any kind of favor for writing this article. These are my honest opinions at your service.