The essence of niche marketing is to create an intimate partnership with a market segment that is under-served or not served at all. The entrepreneur provides a carefully crafted solution to this customer segment, but only after intense research and testing. Through this special relationship the customer gets what want and, in return, the entrepreneur gets customer loyalty and higher profits. And little, if any, competition.

But, this niche market success is dependent on the right mix of customers. So, what does the “best” customer look like? One way to determine which customer/s are best is by creating that I call the “preferred customer profile”. Create a list of the criteria that are most important to you and your business. That list might include:

• proximity to your office or shop
• pays bills on time
• easy to do business with
• future need for your product or service
• profit
• fun relationship
• size of customer
• industry or vertical

Rank your current customers based on these attributes with a raw score of 1-10. Rank the raw scores by importance with a weight of 1-5. Calculate the total score for the customer. Do this ranking for all your customers; this will allow you to create a stacked ranking of your customers from best to worst. When my clients have done this ranking, some of their customers scored very high, while other customers may scored very low.

The question then becomes how can you raise the score of the low ranking customers? Maybe you can raise their prices. Or, how soon can you replace them with customers which better fit you and your business? Why exhaust your resources trying to serve customers that don’t pay their bills on time, that are difficult to work with, or don’t fit with your future product plans.

Focus your energies on your high scoring customers. Direct your marketing efforts and new business development on finding new customers that fit your preferred customer profile.

Life is short.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2006 All rights reserved.
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