One of the wonderful tips from DHX Advertising's "Marketing 101" digital booklet.
I have talked to numerous college students in the graphic design field that want to show me their portfolio or their most recent logo to get my opinion. As I explain to them that it doesn't say anything to me unless they tell me who the audience is that is going to be looking at it.
What does your Target Market look like?
Before I start a project, I ask my clients LOTS of questions about their industry, who are your competitors, and who is your target market? I like to see that look in their eye that tells me "He is listening to me and understands my business".
HOW TO UNDERSTAND YOUR CLIENT'S BUSINESS
There is a process to a good understanding of your client's business. To all of my clients that are starting a new business I create a one-page target market report on their business. They now have a tool that they can rehearse for potential clients, share the message with their employees and have a good start on their company business plan. Think ahead for your clients - they will appreciate it.