How to Create Customer Profiles to Reach Your Target Audience

Hello, my name is Dean Litherland-Smith, over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing some marketing techniques which I have both studied at Degree level and employed to good effect in my own business. 

I’m not just having an egotistical rant - having returned to study I graduated from Staffordshire university with a Ba(hons) in business management in 2010, where marketing and business planning formed part of my wider studies. My business experience however is not restricted to the rhetoric, I have run my own business consultancy creating electronic marketing for SME’s via website design, social-media and LCD advertising screens for almost three years.

Customer Profiling 

Let me start by asking you to do me a favour, a hypothetical favour that is.

I need a Birthday card, can you pop out and get one for me?

Not quite as simple a task as it sounds is it?

Now if I asked you to get me a birthday card for my six year old niece who loves the colour pink and Barbie, your task would be a whole lot easier.

The same is true of your customers - It is a difficult task to create marketing material that is of interest to anyone and everyone. Whereas a focused marketing campaign is much more effective in engaging with potential customers.

Lets go back to my niece, which birthday card will she be most likely to have an interest in, a generic card or the pink Barbie card?

Having an insight into your customers world will help you effectively market your product/service so it appeals to them directly.

Targeting by segment also makes it easier to ensure that each customer gets the relevant marketing messages at the appropriate time.

How to write a customer profile

Your target market can be described as either Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C). The completed profile will differ slightly depending whether it is a B2B or B2C profile. Some product/services are only of use to a business or consumer market, however others are suited to either, in this case customer profiling can help you to establish which is the more lucrative market.

There should be two main sections of a customer profile – demographics and psychographics 

Customers may be grouped by similar variables such as those listed below. There are a variety of government and industry sources which  provide demographic information. A great source of information relevant to your business can be gained from your social-media platform and/or setting up a mailing list. (I’ll be discussing using social-media and mailing lists in a later blog)

Demographics

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Household size
  • Occupation
  • Employment status
  • Education level
  • Income

Psychographic variables provide an insight into how and why customers buy. Customers may also be grouped by similar psychographic variables such as their values, beliefs, buying patterns, perceptions, and lifestyle choices (recycling, fitness, travel, and hobbies). Although this information is valuable knowledge, it is harder to collect and find because customers’ preferences change over time, this type of information often must be collected directly from the source. (I’ll be discussing the value of customer surveys and how to automate and add a survey to your corporate website in a later blog)

Psychographic

  • Values
  • Hobbies
  • Desires
  • Interests

Knowledge of customer demographics includes; where customers purchase, how often they purchase, how much they pay, whereas psychographic factors for buying include; perceived value, desire for prestige, and price range. Also giving your customer profiles a name can help you think about real people in real buying situations and assist in developing a focused marketing plan.  

Here is an example;

Chris is a 50 year old man who works as a teacher at a Midland school. He earns around £45,000 a year and graduated from University with a 2:1 degree. He is married and lives in a four bedroom house in the suburbs with his wife and three children.

If we build on the demographics for Chris we find out more about his personality. 

Chris enjoys socialising with friends, going to the pub and keeping himself fit. Chris is a family man who loves to spend time with his children. He’s materialistic and very self assured, he feels he has to look good to match his outgoing personality. He is interested in social affairs and sees himself as well informed. His phone is always by his side, without it he feels lost and disconnected. Chris is a prolific user of social-media and often posts updates of both his work and social life.

Knowing these characteristics will help you focus your marketing efforts and tailor them to those areas. It is important to remember that not all characteristics are going to be the same for each target audience, so make sure you're thorough and you take your time.

Finally, you need to understand your target markets buying behaviour. Buying motives obviously differ from target group to target group, so there is a definite advantage in understanding what makes your audience likely to buy your product.

A person’s buying behaviour is split into two groups: rational and emotional.

Rational behaviour is defined as a  decision-making process that is based on making choices that result in the most optimal level of benefit or utility for the individual. Rational behaviour is not all about the largest material gain, satisfaction received can be purely emotional - rational behaviour can include;

Rational behaviour

  • Price
  • Location
  • Convenience
  • Range
  • Support
  • Promotional offers
  • Reputation
  • Trustworthiness
  • Customer service

Chris might choose to buy a car this weekend because it’s cheap and affordable. It’s located half an hour from where he lives, so is easy and convenient to get to, along with the range of accessories which would be useful to him, such as sat nav and phone connectivity. The car brand may also have a very strong reputation when it comes to quality and reliability, they’re also known for their sterling support and customer service. Probably, Chris would most likely need to satisfy the requirement that he has a car large enough for his whole family. Secondary to this, rear passenger entertainment could be the delighter which closes the sale.

No matter how sophisticated our technology is or how educated we become, there are a number of basic needs and wants we all want to fulfil. Experiences and products which make us feel complete, happy, fulfilled, comfortable, or any other combination of feelings are emotional drivers to buy. 

Emotional behaviour

  • Feel good factor
  • Status
  • Confidence
  • Brand loyalty
  • Marketing

Chris might choose to buy a car this weekend because it reaches an ambition or goal to him. It makes him feel good about himself and he feels as though he’s reached an elite status by owning such a car. He holds a number of luxurious and prestigious connotations to the brand, which makes him feel loyal to the brand and gives him confidence in himself.

That about wraps up customer profiling. I hope that you find this blog both interesting and helpful. Over the coming weeks I’ll be building on this to include other topics. If you would like to comment on this blog visit our social-media pages and join the conversation.     For your convenience I have include these handy PDF templates for you to download, use and tailor to your own needs free of charge - Good Luck!

        B2B Profile template             B2C Profile template              B2B Profile example              B2C Profile example