Who is your customer? Unwrapping customer layers is critical for experience.

In my house, we're in full kids' birthday party swing.

It's amazing how quickly kids pick up the patterns of parties: if you eat it when no-one's looking, it doesn't count; cake comes after a few predictable games; you've got to give away them the present you'd really like for yourself, but you mostly get an (edible) present just for turning up. I've become a keen observer of four-year-old pass the parcel tactics: the deliberately long hold, the pass timed with a covert glance at mum's finger on the iPhone's pause button.

Things have changed since I was a kid. Now there's a present in each layer.

Understanding your customers is a bit like a modern day game of pass the parcel: each layer reveals something new. Often, when I ask my clients who their customers are, they give me a surface description: an avatar, or a target industry. It's not until we start to unpick the layers that we get to the prize.

Your customers exist at several layers.

Businesses work with many groups of customers. There's the industry segment or target group, and there are specific companies within those segments. Within specific companies, there are specific parts. And of course, each of those specific parts comes with a few specific people who'll buy you.

Knowing what's important to each customer layer means you can design the right customer experience. 

Just like a four-year-old who wants to win the ultimate pass the parcel prize, there's no ripping straight to the guts of the package and holding your prize gleefully aloft. Instead, there's deliberate strategy involved.

But nail your customer strategy, and you’ll nail your customer experience.

Emily Verstege