An excerpt from Zack Miller’s upcoming book ‘Anomaly: How to Finally Stand Out From the Crowd’.

Brands spend billions a year using the shotgun approach of spraying their message and praying someone will call or reach out to their company. It’s effective to learn who your target customer is and reach out to them directly, especially when you’re just getting started.

Who is your audience and what do they need? The process of learning as much about a person or business as you can is the definition of target customer research. Picture this: You’re a CrossFitter, vegan, stay-at-home female athlete, but you receive advertisements for men’s work boots. Seems odd, and it is. All too often brands and personalities are targeting their customers completely wrong. They’re wasting time and money trying to get attention from people who will never become their customers.

There are people around you right now primed and ready to become your customer. I like to call this low-hanging fruit. Some of these people you likely already know. Someone somewhere is looking for you and what you have to offer. It’s up to you to figure out who and where they are. Your target customer is someone who meets a series of criteria that you determine from dissecting your current customer base. If you don’t have a current base, you’ll make some predictions and edit as you gain more information. This is called a customer pivot.

Standard demographics such as age, gender, height, weight, and race can be used, but it’s harder to use only those. Look for a deeper understanding with things like where they vacation, what they eat, where they went to school, brands they wear, where they live, what they like and follow on social media, what language they speak, and how adventurous they are.

If you sign up for a Winc membership (a fantastic wine of the month club), you’re asked a series of questions in order to better understand your palate. Questions range from, “How do you like your coffee?” and “Would you jump out of an airplane?” to “What are your favorite fruits?” and whether or not you like steak, scallops, or spicy food. These questions help them better understand you to provide you with wine you’re more likely to enjoy. What’s stopping you from doing this with your brand in order to provide your customers with the products, services, or content that will most resonate with them? Nothing.

Let’s say you have a sample size of 1,000 current followers or customers. That’s not a bad-size list. It’s one that could provide you with some financial success if you took a little time and energy to better understand who they are. You can do this by creating a poll or survey with targeted questions based on what you need to know about them. You can poll your network through a Facebook post, LinkedIn Group question, or even through an email to your network with a series of questions. You’ll also want to get standard data like college level completed, age, gender, and race. You may learn that one demographic is an overwhelming majority of your customer base, and you can create marketing campaigns that speak to those trends.

Knowing your target customer is a multistep process. You need to know: Who are they? What do they look like? Where can I find them? and What appeals to them? If you don’t answer all four of these, you’ll miss out on key information and likely never convert any of them into customers.

There are lots of ways you can start learning about your target customers. You can leverage your personal network and survey or interview a select group of people who you believe fit the bill of your target customer. By doing this you’re getting direct one-to-one knowledge as to what their pain points and problems are. A pain point or problem is the challenge your prospect is currently experiencing.

It could be as simple as needing groceries delivered from the grocery store, or as complex as a serious health issue. The problem doesn’t matter. What matters is if you can solve their problem and create a relationship, or if you can’t, help them find someone else who can.

If you have a solution they’re looking for, you can start putting them into your sales funnel, which we will go into more detail about in a later section.

Compile a list of assumptions of what you think the problem is, and then create surveys asking questions around those problems. Send it out to the list you have compiled. Collect all of their data from the surveys and paste it into a spreadsheet. As you progress with your target customers, ask if you can update them on what you’re working on.

With every person you have a conversation with, ask if there’s someone else that you could be talking to. Maybe they know someone else that fits your target customer profile. This could be called a referral, but since you’re not selling anything yet, it’s more of a warm lead. A warm lead indicates that the person has either shown interest, or someone has informed you that they may be a good fit. A cold lead means the person has shown no sign of interest, and you’re just testing the waters. If they say yes, ask how you should contact the new person or group.

Let’s say you create a marketing and branding set for one demographic, but then learn that you were wrong, or something changes with that demographic and it’s no longer your target customer. Any marketing that you were using should be edited or removed as it’ll be speaking to someone you have proven is not a good fit.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to consume Anomaly, you’ll be taken through three parts: Understanding the Sales Funnel, Becoming the Anomaly, and Anomalies in the Wild. Understanding the Sales Funnel will detail why it takes multiple steps to get the results you desire. Becoming the Anomaly details techniques that get amazing results. Finally, Anomalies in the Wild walks you through case studies of individuals and companies who have become an anomaly by using specific tools and/or mediums.


  1. Determine your target audience/customer using standard demographics like age, gender, race, annual income, plus deep demographics like where they hang out, how they speak, what do they like, where do they spend money, what do they drive, where did they go to school, etc.
  2. What are three unique identifiers of your target customer?
  3. What challenges or pain points do your targets have?
  4. What type of questions are they asking you?
  5. Select 5 to 10 keywords and key phrases that your targets use in their vernacular and what they search online. Don’t get cute.