Who are your customers?
A typical request from a client could read as follows:
"We need a flyer/poster/website for our company to sell/publicise our product/event. Could you send us some costs over please and start the design"
Of course we will, I mean why wouldn't we, they picked us to do their design work. However how many of us stop and think, hang on is a flyer/poster/website what you really need? Will this get the results you want? Will this reach your customer?
Putting loss-leader aside ever piece of design should have a return for your company, being that financial, customer loyalty or growth. Really though, who out there measures this, who actually calculates that if they spend X amount on a design/production that they will see a return on this? Furthermore who actually stops and think, is there a better way/cheaper way of getting the results I want in a different way?
You can argue that if you produce 10,000 flyers, which are pence each, and you get 100 customers to spend more than that with you, that's a good result right? Is it? Probably not. In fact what that shows is you don't know customers and you just wasted time and money on 9,900 people that aren't your customers.
What if research was done before hand into who your customers are and what they will react to? What if you did this and found out that those 9,900 people hate flyers and if you approached it differently they would of become your customers?
As part of our branding process we like to identify customers and learn about their habits. As an example, if we take John, a 17 year old who is always looking at his phone, checking updates on Instagram, messaging his friends, if you were to put an advert out in the local press would that reach him? No probably not. Then what about Jane, a 52 year old that likes nothing better than relaxing on the weekend by reading the newspapers, would a promoted tweet on twitter reach her? No probably not again.
What if John and Jane are both genuinely your customers and you want to reach them both. The easiest thing to do without research and understanding them would be to do one thing to try and reach them both. However with research you can target John with that promoted tweet and target Jane with the press ad. Another way to think of it is a farther and son who both enjoy listening to the same music but the farther listens to it on vinyl and the son on MP3. They are both consuming the same song but delivered in different ways.
We don't expect you to map out all of your customers, you probably have thousands, but we try and do as much as possible until patterns and groups start to appear. These groups can then be targeted individually with the correct marketing that works for them.