Better understand your ideal customer so that you can target the right people at the right time.
Build once but use multiple times. Your Customer Profile is the foundation for all your tactical marketing and sales strategies.
Get hands-on and create your Customer P
Part 2 Why Customer Profiles Are Important
Part 5 Building a Customer Profile
When building a business, your customers are the fuel to the fire. They keep your marketing alight, give your sales team direction, and are the reason you consistently develop award-winning marketing strategies.
If you or your business offer ongoing services, including subscription-based and product-based offers, then knowing your customers from the inside out will determine just how successful your business thrives in your industry.
In order to appropriately market, sell to, and offer world-class support to your customers, you need to understand them and get to know them.
In other words, Customer Profiles should be an integral part of your business. To achieve business growth results or earn the return on investment numbers you desire, your customers, along with your Customer Profiles, will help you succeed in attaining your business goals.
In this extensive guide on Customer Profiles, we will outline exactly what they are and what they’re used for, demonstrate how you can build a successful Customer Profile, and show you how to target the most ideal customers for your business.
By the end of this guide, you will understand the importance of Customer Profiles, their connection to inbound marketing, and how to create Customer Profiles for your business.
It's time to talk all things customer profiles, no corners cut…
For any and all marketing campaigns in the modern marketing world, a Customer Profile is the essential marketing tool that helps businesses understand their customers, highlighting who they are, what they look like, their interests, wants and needs. They’re a description or analysis of a typical or ideal customer for one’s business.
A Customer Profile is a description of a customer, or set of customers, that includes demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics, as well as buying patterns, creditworthiness, and purchase history. They are a set of characteristics that define the people who are most likely to purchase your product or service and derive a lot of value from it - HubSpot.
Customer Profiles a paramount to the success of your inbound marketing efforts, no matter how big or small your business is.
The development of your Customer Profiles should be the first crucial step your business takes if you want to get the most out of your inbound marketing campaigns. If you don't build Customer Profiles, your strategy will be hit and miss and you won’t receive a strong return on investment for your marketing efforts. You’ll also be giving your competition a real competitive edge, because, let’s be honest, the best companies are doing them.
Without the proper analysis of your current market, most businesses will never actually see their real target customers, never mind sell to them. When you know exactly what type of customers you want to sell your products too, marketing becomes a whole lot easier.
Below, we’ve picked out the key material to help you understand why Customer Profiles are so important for your business.
Customer Profiles offer businesses an ultimate marketing tool that helps their marketing, sales, and service teams understand their customers and help make better business decisions. A customer profile is a way of describing a consumer categorically so that they can be grouped for marketing purposes.
When businesses develop their marketing strategies, create bespoke offers, and produce valuable marketing content, Customer Profiles are effectively the design tool in which a business tailors their products and services
By obtaining information about their ideal customer, a business can target a specific market segment to advertise, market or sell a particular product too. With the information collected, businesses can also begin to identify likes, dislikes, and buying behaviours of their potential customers.
Although the information you need to collect for your Customer Profiles depends on your business, you need to build up a database of information about your customers. Bear in mind, you must comply with the Data Protection Act when obtaining information. Ray Jones, Chartered Institute of Marketing advisor says:
“Find out as much as you can about existing customers. Analyse your sales records, talk to your customers and, if you need more information, consider carrying out a survey.”
With the Customer Profiles you create, that describe specific segments, you can begin to envision a person interested in your product and build a better understanding of what would motivate them to buy your product or service.
Finally, when you understand your audience, you can improve your customer’s experience which, in turn, will lead to more efficient and effective marketing which leads to more loyal customers and greater return on investment.
Data is cooler than you think, even though many marketers will tell you, ‘you can’t live with it, and you can’t live without it’. It’s that all too common love-hate relationship. However, data is an analytical marketer's best friend and when wrangled together, opportunities to produce forward-thinking marketing become endless.
For marketers, a huge part of utilising data is the ability to connect it to consumers and group those consumers effectively using common traits, characteristics and behaviours.
Customer Profiles are the consolidation of all the data you collect about your individual customers, in a single place. Just like a real customer, your profiles should include all the necessary data that essentially creates a well-rounded human being on paper. As a data-driven marketer, you need numbers to paint this picture.
The strongest Customer Profiles that inspire successful campaigns are those that are specific, targeted, and backed by real data. If you want to create an inspiring user experience for your potential customers, you need data.
Target marketing is one of the most important, though often overlooked, components in a marketing strategy. While some companies are often reluctant to select a defined core target segment - because they fear excluding certain groups will decrease return on investment - others serve all customer groups equally, which can result in a diffused offering.
As identified by Chron, a target market is a specific group of people that you have determined to be desirable as part of your customer base. How you define each group will vary depending on the products and services you offer, and where you offer them.
Your Customer Profiles are important in identifying areas that offer the highest penetration for you to market your business activities with those most likely to purchase your product.
Many companies falter when creating Customer Profiles because their buyer persona descriptions lack specificity. So, how do you ensure that your business is getting more of the clients you want?
Knowing a customer in-depth allows you to deliver precise solutions to meet your customers’ needs. It enables you to offer products at the right locations, at the right price, and deliver the right features and support to create positive buying experiences.
“81% of buyers will pay a premium for industry experience and industry-specific solutions, but only 44% of B2B marketers use Buyer Personas.” - ITSMA
With your fully developed Customer Profiles, you can concentrate on ‘real’ potential customers and delivering precise solutions will help you pinpoint the potential consumers interested in what your business has to offer.
Of course, every strategy has a winning formula, even Customer Profiles. Take a look below at the four key ingredients that make Customer Profiles a vital piece of marketing kit for your business:
You actually get to choose your customers. You get to choose
You need to know how your customers think, what they feel, hear, and what they say and do. What makes them tick? What keeps them awake at night? When you get inside your ideal customers head and understand their motivations, pain points, and buying decisions, they’ll help you market the right products, to the right people, at the right time.
Build once but use multiple times. Customer Profiles are the foundation for all your tactical marketing and sales strategies and plans. When developed, watch your marketing and sales teams become wiser and learn how to separate a valuable opportunity from an uninteresting one.
Consumer trends are constantly changing. Consumers produce more date than ever before but at the same time demand a better level of service. Profiling consumers allow a brand to define a clear set of messages and imagery to specific customers to improve their customer experience and boost marketing efficiency and effectiveness.
Improving the customer’s experience will lead to more efficient and effective marketing which leads to more loyal customers and greater return on investment.
Like many marketing buzzwords, Customer Profile carries a few variations of its title. More often than not, it flies under the marketing radar known as ‘Buyer Personas’ or ‘Customer Personas’. Depending on which term you use, there is no right or wrong answer. For example, the definition of a Buyer Persona is:
“A semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers”
As you can observe, both definitions share similarities, but, as a whole, they represent the same marketing process of understanding your ideal customer through the information you collate through your market research.
So, we’ve wrapped up what Customer Profiles are, and by now you should have a solid understanding of its definition and the workings of its processes. To truly understand your customers, you need to learn how to build a Customer Profile. Let’s move on to stage two.
Building a Customer Profile is no easy task. In your quest to better understand your ideal customer, you need to pool your resources, align your business departments, and execute a precise plan.
So, how do you build a successful Customer Profile? What questions will you ask in your customer conversations? How do you make sure you get the most valuable information for your Customer Profiles?
Our Customer Profile Strategy will guide you through the steps that will help you better understand your customers and target the most ideal customer for your business.
Business-wise, you need to determine what needs to be communicated, to whom, and why. Your Customer Profiles are one of the single most important marketing processes you develop. This means, internally, you need to consult your marketing, sales, and service departments to make sure everyone understands what a Customer Profile is, and how you plan to execute the process.
The first phase of our Customer Profile Strategy aims to align your departments together. From sales to service, each team within your business can offer value to your Customer Profiles, so it’s imperative that your marketing, sales, and service teams are on the same page.
The goal of phase should host workshops to discuss how you, as a whole business, will develop your Customer Profiles and uncover valuable information that will assist you in preparing questions for your customer conversations.
Marketing Team: Your marketers are the experts when it comes to business campaigns, inbound marketing, and any relevant digital activity. With their knowledge of your business website, they hold valuable and analytical information regarding your website visitors and how they behave and interact with your business. Consult your marketing team to better understand how you can reach and interact with your customers:
How do visitors find your business’ website?
What sources attract the most visitors to your website (direct, organic, paid, social)?
Which current campaign/offer has been the most successful?
What marketing process is in place to promote your services and products?
Which landing pages are converting the most visitors?
What content is attracting the most attention?
Sales Team: Your sales team are specialists in customer interaction and hold insights into the factors that influence purchasing decisions. They recognise buying behaviours and patterns, and know what sales processes are more likely to
What sales processes are in place to close a customer deal?
What products or services are most purchased?
At what time of the day do customers typically make a purchase from your business?
What are the demographics of your customers how to make a purchase?
Service Team: Finally, your service team are the go-to gurus in customer service and customer satisfaction. They provide service-related inputs while keeping up with the bigger picture by maintaining open lines of communication with your other teams. Your service team put themselves in the customer's’ shoes, especially during tough situations while remaining empathetic. Consult your service team to better understand what your customers are saying about your business:
What are your existing customer's pain points?
What processes are in place for customer complaint resolutions?
What questions are customers asking?
Are they delighted by the product they purchased or the service they received?
When you have collected all the information from your marketing, sales, and service teams, you’re ready to begin developing your Customer Profiles further. This leads us to phase two of our Customer Profile Strategy.
The second phase of the Customer Profile Strategy is all about researching your target market and recognising your potential audience, based on the scope you just identified from your business. To truly understand your customers, you need to speak to them directly.
As mentioned previously, a typical Customer Profile is a description of a customer that includes demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics. You need to define these characteristics of your target customer and know them well before you can develop your strategy to get and retain your customer’s business.
It is important to make sure you converse with a range of customers and different target markets. Not every customer of yours will have attained the same level of education or will work in the same field.
Once you have a database of all the customers you are going to talk to, you need to document their characteristics including all their needs and wants. Research your audience to learn information which will help you know how they think, fell, behave, and react. Let’s break down our characteristics in detail.
Demographics is the collection of data regarding a specific population. Segmenting a population by using demographics allows companies to determine the size of a potential market. Demographics won’t portray your customer's full profile, but they’re a great starting point. Demographic questions should include:
Age - How old is your customer?
Gender - Are they male or female?
Marital Status - Are they married, divorced, widowed?
Race/Background - What is your customer's ethnic origin?
Household income - What are the separate or collective incomes of the household?
Occupation - What is the job role?
Company - Who does your customer work for?
Revenue - How much does the company they work for turn over annually?
Geographic is the collection of data regarding your customer’s locality and where they are on the map. Geographic questions should include:
Location - Where does your customer live?
Location - What places does your customer like to visit?
Occupation - Where is their job situated?
Travel - How do they travel to work or home?
Psychographic is the collection of data regarding consumer behaviour in relation to purchasing decisions and understanding a customer’s pain points, i.e what gets them frustrated. Psychographic questions should include:
Behaviour - What problem are they solving using your product or service?
Pain point - What are your customer’s concerns and anxieties?
Potential turnoffs - What would make your customer not return to your business?
Recommendation - Would your customer recommend your business to a friend or colleague?
Spending habit - How much are they willing to spend on your product?
It’s important to note that your customer profiles will likely change over time as you discover new information about your customers and what motivates them. Always make sure to check back and continually re-define your customer profile to ensure you’re targeting potential customers in the most effective way.
Overwhelmed by how many questions you need to be asking for your research? We take another approach and look at the customer profile questions you DON’T need to be asking in this blog - Buyer Persona Questions You Don’t Need To Ask.
Of course, there are people
People who don’t have a budget
Window-shoppers who are unlikely to purchase from you.
People who are far too expensive to acquire
Students/Full-time education personnel
At first, it might sound counterproductive, your spending time getting to know people who will never be a customer for your business. However, negative personas are great for the long haul, you will save money, time, and won’t waste marketing resources trying to sell your products or services to these people.
Once you’ve collected your data, it’s time to start building your Customer Profiles into a structure by narrowing down all of your research. While examining the data, you will begin to notice patterns and identify opportunities to create specific content for your ideal customer.
It is important to illustrate and bring all the information together. To do this. You need to make sense of the data you have collected and presented it in a format so that everyone within your business can understand.
To get you started, here are some tips when creating a detailed and understandable Customer profile.
1) Humanise your content: You can make your Customer Profile come alive by humanising them. Try adding a photo and a name, for example, we use names like Mary Marketing Manager, Financial Frank, and Robert Recruitment.
2) List traits: By helping your marketing team know
3) Add a description: Consider a description like a bio on a social media profile. In the narrative, you should include key information like their behaviours, purchasing decisions, challenges, and pain points. This will help all your teams identify how they interact with your ideal customer.
Pro Tip: Creating too many Customer Profiles - however tempting and fun - can be harmful to your business. With too many profiles, the chances are you won’t fully understand who your ideal customer is and it will be really hard for you to actually attract, engage, convert, and delight them.
You need to have a clear picture between each Customer Profile to understand who your marketing should be targeting.
Remember: As your business progresses, you will uncover more information about your ideal customer. This means it is important to maintain and update your Customer Profiles and make sure you have the most relevant and up-to-date information to hand.
By constantly revisiting and revising your Customer Profiles, you are ensuring that your business keeps up with the latest trends and consistently targets the most ideal customer.
WARNING: Never assume that you know your ideal customer!
It can happen all too often, many marketers have the tendency to create their marketing campaigns straight away, so they fast track creating Customer Profiles, inevitably marketing to the wrong audience. Well, you heard it here first, you should never assume you know
So, how well does your business know its target audience and do you understand who their ideal customer is? If you’re struggling for an answer right now, don’t worry, we’re here to help and make sure you're not wasting resources marketing to the wrong people.
At Digital Media Stream, we created a free Customer Profile Template that’s aimed to help businesses build strong Customer Profiles and better understand their ideal customer. You can download your copy now and start creating today. When you grab your copy, you get:
We run you through the recap on Customer Profiles. What they are, how to use them, and what a negative persona is. We don’t overload you with information, we just pick out the important stuff. Nobody likes too much blurb.
Learning to ride a bike without training wheels is, in most circumstances, very hard. So, we don’t expect you to get out there without the correct guidance. That’s why we’ve included a pre-filled template so you can see how it’s done.
Now it’s your turn! We provide you with three blank templates so you can start creating your Customer Profiles. You can print them off and don’t forget to share them with your teams.
And finally, If you need some extra helpful content, we provide you with links to relevant information so you can write the most effective content and generate leads for your business. If in doubt, you can always reach out to our team.
If you want to get your hands on a copy of our Customer Profile Template, download them from the link below and start your market research right away. When you understand your ideal customer, you’ll understand your marketing and grow your business.
At Digital Media Stream, we really believe in using Customer Profiles to stay focused when it comes to content generation and understanding our ideal customer.
The most important thing to remember is that that, just like your marketing, your customer's behaviours are constantly evolving, so you need to make sure your ‘refresh’ your profiles regularly if you want to maximize your return on investment and attract the best customers for your business.
As we've extensively covered, your Customer Profiles are an indispensable marketing tool. When your entire business is on the same page, you’ll see a more focused, optimised, and streamlined approach to your marketing, sales and service. Don’t forget to download your copy of our Customer Profile Template.