Do you know where your customer is?

Do you know where he (or she) is right now? Is he at work? Is she at spinning class? Is he in the garage? Is she poring over her son’s sponsorship materials while cooking dinner?

It might seem silly to think about, but if you don’t know where you customer is – right now – how will you reach them?

I had a great chat today with a seasoned member of the racing industry and he mentioned the importance of knowing, and utilizing, the basics of marketing. He’s completely right.

All of the fantastic tools we have today – social media, mobile marketing, digital billboards, direct mail – are only that. Tools. They’ll only be effective if you have a blueprint to work off of.

Sure, you may hit a few nails on the head, but you won’t build anything remarkable – or functional – by swinging a hammer in the dark.

Last year at this time, I made a fantastic investment of time, money and effort into a marketing course that helped me to build my business and brand immensely. What surprised me most was that this very high-end course started with the most basic marketing principle: know thy customer.

You’d think that someone with my experience and training in marketing, this would be an exercise I’d automatically skip over. But it was the most eye-opening practice I’d done to date.

Because on most days, I could tell anyone that asked who my audience was. But once I sat down and gave a single audience member a name – along with details like age, occupation, hobby, hopes, fears and dreams – I knew exactly what they’d be doing on a Thursday night. And where I could find them, online or not.

Have more than one customer? Good. Me too. And they each get a different name, piece of content and medium through which I (try to) reach them.

If you’re a racer, you offer different things to your customers. Race fans, for example, buy apparel and sponsors buy marketing packages. And they’re different people, race fans and sponsors, that’ll find you in different ways or be drawn to you for different reasons.

Same goes as a promoter. You, my friend, have plenty of different customers: fans, drivers, vendors, marketing partners, series, and media members. Even township and fair boards.

Sponsors need to hear about your drivers and fans. Fans need to hear about your drivers and marketing partners. Drivers need to hear about payouts and formats. Media members need to hear almost everything.

They all need to hear different things in different ways.

The days of marketing to everyone in one single dimension are gone. You’ve got to tell your story, over and over again, via a variety of channels to be able to reach your customers.

It might seem overwhelming, but if you want your business to thrive, you’ve got to start at ground zero with customer number one.

And if you know them, you can help them know you.


P.S. If I’m your customer, I’m currently uploading this blog post and watching this week’s episode of the only reason I pay for television: Justified. Hope that helps :)

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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.