I have had the pleasure of starting four start-ups over my twenty plus year career, and while I'm always on the quest to find the right customers and the best customers, I've learned it's not as easy as it seems. My latest startup, Les Barrique, focuses on providing sales and marketing consultation to small and medium sized wineries. Reaching customers sounds simple, right? I just find a list of winery owners in my local area and do some outreach. Not so fast...

The first premise any marketer should start with when developing their marketing strategy is simple - recognize that consumers are fickle. You have a limited amount of their attention with which you need to engage, entice, and inspire them to go on a journey with you. And that journey must be quick, easy, and satisfying.

Here are three steps to develop a plan that puts your customer first:

1) Think broad, but quickly move to the channel that works best

In today's fast moving world, the days of spray and pray are over. You have a limited amount of time to gain a prospects attention, so you need to think about reaching them on various channels with creative messaging that fits. This isn't always easy from the first go-around, but taking a test and learn approach will go a long way towards fine-tuning any plan. For example, you might start broad with general awareness campaigns to better understand the type of person that interacts with your brand or message (age, gender, location, interests) and then move to targeted brand campaigns based on these learnings.

2) Mobile is here to stay

Because your target audience is on the move, content that you serve must be short, to the point, and easily consumable on a mobile device. Consumers now spend 4.5 hours a day on mobile devices (eMarketer, 2016 US Consumption Trends), which represents a huge opportunity to reach them where they are. It also presents challenges related to campaign creative and integrating relevant advertising into their normal path to conversation without disrupting the consumer experience. Think strategically about the call to action. Make it easy to "sign up", "learn more", or "buy".

3) Target with efficiency because personalization does matter

What consumers hate the most is being targeted with an ad that is completely irrelevant, or even worse, being targeted for a product or solution that they JUST purchased. The best way to avoid this is to start with a list of prospect profiles and then build out from there, adding information around purchase intent, past purchase behavior, etc. This will go a long way for future targeting- and will allow you to use custom or lookalike audiences so you can avoid targeting the wrong people. Knowing your audience and where they are across devices will help you ensure that there are no holes in your data, and that you can build attribution models that work.

Marketing today must be thought of as a journey. In very few cases does one, two, or three exposures to your brand drive a conversion. Given this new reality, you need to develop a relationship with your customer. Lead them on a journey, educate and inform- and make sure they have a pleasurable experience along the way. Customers are fickle, and it is your job to make them feel special because, in the end, it is "all about them."

About the Author

Leslie Petry is the owner of Les Barrique, a wine consultancy servicing small and medium sized wineries worldwide. Based in the California Bay Area, Leslie has spent her career building and growing marketing teams across various technology products and solutions. She has held marketing and strategy leadership positions at Neustar, Aggregate Knowledge, Hara Software and National Semiconductor. She holds a B.S. in Business Administration and an MBA from Pepperdine University.