One of the most important aspects of any successful sales and marketing platform is how tightly it focuses on the target audience. Internet marketing is no different – the more accurately you can define your ideal buyer and gear your efforts towards connecting with, engaging and converting them, the more success you’ll have. Part of building an online marketing strategy should be defining who your dream, cream and butter clients are, deciding which group you want to target (you can’t effectively target them all) and building your online marketing platform accordingly.


Dream, Cream and Butter Explained

Okay, maybe you’re not so familiar with the dream, cream and butter terms when it comes to understanding your ideal buyer. Maybe you do if you’re part of BNI, and we’ll fess up a bit here and admit that this isn’t an original Sparkitects concept – it was presented at a BNI Business Builders meeting on May 19, 2015 by visiting BNI Regional Director Rick Flannigan.

Who is Your Butter?

Butter clients are clients that buy from you, but only buy once or twice and don’t really stick around as long term customers. And while butter clients aren’t cream or dream, they’re a very important part of your business because they help you pay bills and keep the lights on while you’re looking for those more lucrative cream and dream clients.

Who is Your Cream?

Cream clients are more lucrative than butter clients, but unfortunately they’re harder to find, too. Cream clients are longer term clients that you create an on-going relationship with – they might buy products and services from you on a regular basis and they might also buy some of your premium products.

Who is Your Dream?

Your dream client doesn’t come along very often, but when they do they’re a real boon to your business. They might come along once a year – or maybe only once every two years – but when they do they can really help grow your company. Not only do they need an on-going supply of the products and services, but their sales and marketing vision aligns perfectly with yours and they have budget to afford what you provide.


Marketing to Your Dream, Cream or Butter

The thing about marketing is that in order to do it successfully you have to identify who you’re selling to and focus your efforts towards finding, connecting, engaging and converting them. And the reasons why your dream, cream and butter buy from you are different – the butter, for example, might not be interested in some of the value-add that you provide, they just want what they want and not a whole lot more. The dream clients, on the other hand, aren’t simply looking to buy stuff, they’re looking for an expert they can trust.

So because the reasons they buy is different between your dream, cream and butter clients, and because you have to focus your marketing message to why they buy, you have to decide on one of your dream, cream or butter client types to focus your marketing on. If you try and appeal to two – or all three – of them, you run the very real risk of having a diluted and unfocused marketing message that doesn’t end up resonating with any of them.


Which of the Dream, Cream or Butter Should You Target?

So, we’ve identified that all customers aren’t created equal and in your marketing you have to focus on one of the dream, cream or butter. So which one is it?

Well, as is often the case in sales and marketing, there is no absolute right answer, it depends on your company and what your value proposition is.

If you sell commodity products or services or you’ve decided that you’re going to sell based on price then it might make sense to go after the butter clients – they aren’t looking for a long term relationship and they probably don’t want to spend on any sort of value-add you provide. From your perspective, you’re probably looking for a shorter sales cycle and you’re confident that tomorrow will bring more customers making a buying decision based on price or availability.

If you have positioned your brand in the market to bring addition value beyond simply supplying products and services, and that reflects in you charging a higher price, then it might make more sense to your business to target cream customers. Your customers will be looking for something more than a company to simply provide, and they probably won’t mind paying a little higher price point for the extra value.

Also consider that even though you’re marketing towards one type of client, it doesn’t mean that you won’t find customers of the other types. By the basic law of averages you’re going to win clients that your marketing isn’t specifically targeted at for reasons that are beyond your control. Giddy up, we say, a customer is a customer no matter why they’re buying from you.

And finally, there isn’t a right or wrong type of ideal customer to chase. Some businesses will succeed by pushing through a higher volume of business by marketing towards the butter, some will be just as successful by making higher profit margins on lower quantity of sales with cream or dream clients.

The important point is that you have to consciously decide who you’re marketing to and focus on them with your sales and marketing, online and offline.



When you’re developing a sales and marketing platform for your business – online or offline – you have to identify who your ideal buyer is and focus your marketing on them. There are three different types of clients – dream, cream and butter – and each type will buy from you for different reasons. When you’re marketing your business, decide what type of client you want to engage and focus your marketing on why they would buy from you and you’ll be well on your way to building a solid marketing platform.

And if you’re looking to really focus your online marketing to find your ideal client, we’d love to help. We bring a strategic approach to helping businesses build solid online marketing platforms, including building websites, content marketing, social media marketing and pay-per-click marketing. If you’re building your companies online presence, give us a call at (905) 456 – 4606 or send us an email, we’d love to help!