The first commandment of marketing: thou shalt know thine customers well.
The nuts and bolts: A customer profile is a thorough description of your current customer created by identifying purchasing behaviors, pain points, psychographic data, and demographic data with the goal of targeting similar customers in your sales and marketing campaigns.
So, you’ve built a really great product, but you’re not yet sure who’s going to use it. Who is your customer? What’s important to him or her? And perhaps most importantly – how can you make your great product even better for this customer?
If you’ve built a product without knowing who will actually use it, you’re making a big mistake. For instance, if you are marketing a product for pregnant women, it’s important not to market it to all women, because then you’re missing out on targeting your niche audience and losing some of your most important customers.
People tune out irrelevant advertising, and you don’t want your product to get lost in the psychological noise of everyone else’s ads. Plus, when you haven’t yet identified your niche market and try to sell to everyone, you dilute your message, so it’s no longer a powerful call to action, which means that even those niche customers who might have purchased your product if you’d been selling directly to them, now aren’t.
Is It Really A Big Deal?
Lack of market research can lead to disaster and very expensive losses — just ask Coca-Cola.
When blind taste tests showed people preferred the slightly sweeter taste of Pepsi to that of Coke, the soft drink giant feared that it would lose its massive market share and decided to change up its classic recipe to make it taste more like Pepsi. Two years and $4 million later, New Coke launched and flopped magnificently.
You see, Coca-Cola forgot to take into consideration its customers’ brand loyalty. Many testers did not even know they were helping Coca-Cola decide on introducing a new formula, and despite the results of the blind taste tests, customers wanted their classic Coke taste back.
Coca-Cola quickly obliged, and the entire debacle became a famous case study for why market research is necessary. Coca-Cola’s mistake could have been avoided if they just knew their customers better. And that’s what customer profiles are all about.
A customer profile outlines the type of customer likely to purchase your product, which allows you to better tailor your products and services for them. . A customer profile varies from product to product, and targeting and streamlining your marketing efforts. This helps you cut costs across the board and increase revenue by identifying future high-value customers faster.
All right, so this is all pretty neat, but where do we get started? How do we even go about creating a customer profile, and how do we use these profiles? Let’s dive right into the process.
You have to start somewhere. As you start to acquire customers, it’s important to gather information about them. Where are they from? How old are they? What sort of industries do they work in? What other things are they interested in?
Keep your data broad and dynamic. Relying on incorrect data to create customer profiles is worse than simply not having any data at all – it’s dangerous to rely on wrong information when making key business decisions. And considering the fact that 62% of business contact information changes within one year, it’s incredibly important to keep your information current.
Don’t be nervous about investing in a dynamic marketing tool that makes it easy to keep track of large amounts of customer data and demographics.
Enrich Your Data
Well, there’s no point in having a lot of data lying around and doing nothing with it! You’ve got all this information about your customers, such as demographics, geography, and buying behavior. You might even have psychographics — like interests and general personalities. It’s time to apply your marketing analytics skills in order to be able to interpret all this data in a meaningful way.
The best way to do this is by breaking down your target market. To create your customer profile, you can pick out one segment of your target audience according to certain features, like gender, location, age, and psychographics like beliefs and value systems. The goal is for you to know this specific segment of your target market really well so that you can create a profile of the “typical” customer that would fall into this segment.
Let’s Do This
This is pretty tricky stuff, so feel free to check out some examples of customer profiles over on our blog. We used TV characters as inspiration for creating new customer profiles – it’s a great jumping-off point. After all, there’s no shortage of interesting and varied personalities to study and turn into customer profiles. We’ll do a similar thing here.
Let’s assume we are trying to sell a cutting-edge, high-tech piece of medical equipment that helps doctors more accurately diagnose patients. We’ll take a look at the profiles of two of the cast members of the TV show “Scrubs” to see if there’s a target market segment that we can zero in on.
John Michael “J.D.” Dorian
- The “Newbie”
- Position: Staff Intern
- Age Demographic: 20-30
J.D. is bright, optimistic and genuinely cares for his patients. His eagerness to please his superiors and to impress his peers reflects deeper insecurities. However, J.D. proves himself to be decisive and, when the situation calls for it, steps up to be both a leader and mentor.
Perry Cox, M.D.
- The Old Pro
- Position: Doctor of Internal Medicine
- Age Demographic: 35-50
Sarcastic, bitter, and egotistical, Dr. Cox is jaded by the medical profession and is often unkind to his fellow practitioners. Though intelligent and well respected, Cox is often emotionally unavailable for his peers and patients and only reluctantly accepts his role as J.D. ‘s mentor.
These two profiles reveal very different types of doctors with very different approaches to their jobs. One is young and still learning the ropes, while the other is more established and set in his ways. Now, considering the nature of your product, it makes more sense to advertise to J.D.’s demographic: the excited and ready-to-learn interns who are more willing to try out new tools and equipment.
Use Your Data
After creating your customer profiles (there can be multiple, but, remember, try not to create too many because that begins to defeat the purpose of the exercise … ), it’s time to start analyzing the data. Find interesting trends and patterns within your customer profiles, and use that knowledge to design your products and services to better suit the unmet needs and demands of your clientele. Also, familiarizing yourself with customer profiles helps you identify future high-value customers more quickly.
Customer profiles are used to reduce across-the-board marketing and advertising costs because they break down your customers into specific, smaller segments that can be targeted more easily. They also increase revenue by zeroing in on and aggressively concentrating on one segment.
You’ll be able to personalize your relationship with customers the more you communicate to specific customer segments. Your communications can be industry-specific (“As a web designer, it’s important for you….”), time-specific (“To celebrate the one-year anniversary of your premium account…”) or relate to anything else you find relevant.
Also, in this competitive business environment, it’s important not to ignore your online presence. Customer profiling can help you improve your business’s online front end. You can use your knowledge of customer profiles and trends in customer data to optimize your website.
For example, you can differentiate between first-time visitors and returning visitors on your website, so it might be nice to create different homepages for those two types of visitors. First-time visitors might be met with a welcome screen and an introduction to your product or service. On the other hand, returning visitors might be more interested in new releases of your product, updates on new software, or notifications about changes in service policies.
Furthermore, if you have an online product checkout option on your website, you can also use customer profiling to better serve your customers. For first-time buyers, you can feature a detailed walkthrough during the purchase process in order to build credibility and make customers more comfortable with using your website for online purchases. But returning customers might find this type of hand-holding to be annoying, so you could create a more streamlined option for them since they already know the ropes.
Tailoring your content to what is most relevant to each customer builds stronger relationships and actively promotes customer loyalty. .
Get Analyzing, Nerd!
And that’s the scoop on customer profiles.
They’re nifty little tools to help you reduce operational costs and increase revenue; plus, they push businesses to focus on customer needs and priorities when designing products or developing services.
Successful marketing begins with knowing your customers and knowing them well. And customer profiles help you do just that. You can start building one with Helio. Our easy-to-use template makes it easy to get started. Check it out: