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Ideal Customer Avatars – How to Create One and Utilize it for Sales

If you find yourself dealing with a lot of tire-kickers, potential clients who aren’t a good fit for your services, or a large number of objections in the sales process, chances are you haven’t effectively defined your ideal customer and what their main problems are.  An Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA) is a generalized, fictional representation of the client most likely to select your wedding, catering, or event services.  An ICA helps you better understand your customer, determine what their pain points are, figure out where they hang out and make stronger connections.

Unless you define who you want to sell to, your marketing messages will get lost in a sea of the same words that other wedding, catering, and event professionals throw onto their websites and into their social media.  Use an ICA to:

  • Talk the talk – Match your style and tone to theirs and have an easier time creating relevant content.
  • Get seen – Boost how well you show up on Google by using the words they would use to search for on your website.
  • Be better – Be a more effective problem solver and gain a better understanding of how to pivot and grow your business.

While each ICA might have different likes and dislikes but they are made up of the same components that help to create a starting point for most marketing campaigns.  Each ICA should include:

  • Background – job title, place of employment, education, and marital status.
  • Demographics – age, gender, income, and housing situation
  • Hobbies & Interests – What do they do for fun? What brings them joy?
  • Goals – What dreams or accomplishments do they want to achieve for both their work and personal life?
  • Challenges – What obstacles or distractions stand in the way of their goals?
  • Biggest Fears – What scares them in both their work and private life?
  • Common Objections – What are their biggest objections or concerns for your business or products? What do they dislike about your competitors?

The Foodie Soonlywed Ideal Customer Avatar Example

Now that we’ve discussed everything it takes to construct a proper buyer persona, it only makes sense that we try one out for ourselves.  For this example, we’re going to be focusing on a typical customer that you’re likely to find in the catering industry: the foodie soonlywed.  For the purposes of our example, we’ll call her Francine “Frankie” Foodie.

Frankie has two loves in her life –  food and her partner, Alex. The lovely couple is in the process of finding a catering company that can handle Frankie’s particular food preferences and preparing a feast worthy of the happy couple and their 200+ guests.

Background

  • Elementary school teacher and part-time food blogger
  • Completed undergraduate degree at Temple University and masters at Penn State
  • Recently engaged to her serious partner of six years
  • The doggy parent of two identical chihuahuas

Demographics

  • Identifies as female
  • Age 29
  • Annual Household income: $120,000
  • Lives in a fixer-upper home with her partner

Hobbies & Interests

  • Trying out new local bars and restaurants and writing about her experiences on her self-maintained blog
  • Watches the Food Network religiously
  • Loves French cuisine and finds Italian specialties “overrated and tiring”
  • The life of the party, that sometimes needs her own space to decompress

Goals

  • Make a career out of her food blog
  • Travel the world and explore unique cultures through the taste of food
  • Hire a wedding caterer that can meet her food specifications

Challenges

  • Trying to create the perfect menu complete with French classics while also accommodating guests with specific food allergies and diet restrictions
  • Having her blog seen as more than just a hobby, but as a serious career
  • Since her wedding is a pet-friendly event, will the food be acceptable for doggy consumption?

Biggest Fears

  • The food won’t be met with favorable accolades
  • Someone gets sick at their wedding or eats something they’re not supposed to.

Common Objections

  • “Will the caterer I hire be familiar with French cuisine?”
  • “I’ve never used this particular caterer before, but will my guests be familiar with them? What are their opinions about their services?”

Use the example above to create your own ICA.  Start off by interviewing past and current customers, doing a bit of sleuthing in Facebook Groups, and even using www.census.gov for demographic research.  Defining your ICA will take time but it will ensure that your marketing has a solid foundation.

Once you define your ICA, dive into positioning yourself as a helpful expert who can guide them towards solving their biggest pain points.  Always reference your ICA when you are creating promotions, writing blogs, or sending out emails to keep your message on point.  When your potential clients feel like you are speaking their language, they will be more likely to buy from you and you will have the privilege of working with people who keep you working from a place of joy.

Aleya Harris, an award-winning marketer and former chef and catering company owner, is the Owner of Flourish Marketing, an agency that provides marketing education, strategy, and tools to help wedding, catering, and event professionals get and keep a consistent stream of clients.   Aleya is a StoryBrand Certified Guide and she uses that narrative-based framework to develop clear, engaging, and highly converting marketing assets, like websites and social media solutions, for her clients.  Aleya is the current Marketing Committee Chair for NACE and a top speaker at conferences and events like Catersource and The Special Event.

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Most catering and events business owners fail at making money doing what they love because they don't know how to market themselves. Through her company, Flourish Marketing, Aleya offers marketing education, strategy, and tools that help wedding, catering, and events business owners stop staring at a blank calendar and start getting and keeping a consistent stream of clients. Aleya is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who also happens to be an award-winning, marketing strategist, brand manager, content developer, and storyteller. She has a background as a marketing executive on the leadership teams of large foodservice organizations and has also been a private chef and catering company owner. Aleya speaks your language and understands your challenges. She knows how important it is to work in your passion. That's why for the past 12 years, she has been focused on helping over 1,000 accounts, brands, and business owners to be successful. Aleya is a dynamic interpersonal communicator and presenter with the exceptional ability to inspire, motivate, and equip her audience. She loves opportunities to connect, help people develop, and create the space for her fellow entrepreneurs to see their visions manifest.

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