The Complete Guide to Customer Profiling: Define Your Audience “Before Shooting”

The Complete Guide to Customer Profiling: Define Your Audience "Before Shooting"

Customer persona, profiling, segmentation, target grouping – you name it!
With slight differences all of the above are pretty much the same, having one specific
objective: Get to know your customers as much as possible in order to know who to target with what content.
The best way to understand the profiling process and get to the bottom line is first to
understand what is our goal.

The Goal

PRODUCE A SHORT & CLEAR LIST OF ACTION ITEMS DERIVATIVE FROM
YOUR CONSOLIDATED CUTOMER’S PROFILE.

So what does that mean?

Any organization (with or without profit goal) that would like to expand and attract
customers, should have a structured & KPI defined – marketing plan.

Creating a marketing plan is an important process by itself which has various structures
and options of creation. Check out our tutorial how to create and effective marketing plan
from scratch.  At its base, this plan should cover all ‘marketing’ objectives of the organization
towards leveraging its customer’s engagement and value.

If we want to meet our goals we should create a knowledge base about our potential
customers (and/or our future to-be customers). Making it easier for you to put out the
right content for the right people at the right time.

Not only that, you want to make sure everyone on your team, from marketing to sales, is
speaking the language of your customers and know who they are speaking with.

How to do that? Identify, Characterize and Profile your Customer!

Basically, profiling is collecting pieces of information about the customer and creating
a whole picture.

How do you get this information?

First step: Ask yourself general definitive questions about your own company /
product / service

  1. What am I selling?
  2. In which market?
  3. What are my product’s / service’s benefits / advantages?
  4. How my company stand against competitors?

It is much easier to make decisions related to customers when you know your business best and
have clear answers to all of the above questions.

Second Step: Decide which type of customer you are profiling
There are 2 basic options of customers you can profile and its pretty much depends
where you stand and what is your business’s lifecycle.

Option #1: You have already acquired customers of your own and you like to divide
them to targeted groups in order to know them better and gain higher results &
impact from these clients.

Option #2: You have not been acquiring any customers yet and you would like to
decide who will be the best personas to target and begin with.If you are part of the #2nd option – your customer profile can get anywhere you are
going to take it (From time to time this can feel like shooting in the dark, but no worries
you have to start somewhere…) – based on what criteria you’ll decide to put at higher
priority, slowly you’ll gain more customers that will provide you more actual knowledge
of their behavior and characteristics.

Third Step: Choose which direction to go
I like to divide this section in 3 optional directions:

Legend:

  • – Designed profile
  • – Characteristic
  • – Majority / Customers who sticks out
  1. “Imagine” – Build the profile based on your business understanding, your marketing
    plan, your product advantages, your familiarity with the market and your “gut feeling”
    **This is much easier demonstrated on a specific person but remember – there’s no
    actual difference between a 1 man’s show low-tech company and a 1,000 employees enterprise.

    Basic Profile Criteria’s to Question / Check

    1. Gender
    2. Age
    3. Demographics
    4. Location
    5. Education
    6. Economy group
    7. Customer type – Individual / enterprise / small company / non-profit organization / etc..
    8. Customer goals – what he would like to achieve and how it fits in the service you want to provide to him
    9. Profession – industry / customer’s customers / product he sells / etc..
    10. Customer’s Interests
    11. Customer’s own lifecycle – new established company / startup / well-funded enterprise / etc…
    12. How does he consumes content
    13. Customer’s job + level (who he reports to and who is reporting to him)
    14. Specific tools that he is working with
    15. Challenges that the customer is facing
    16. What social networks he uses
    17. What associations he belongs with
    18. How he likes to communicate

    Etc…..

  2. Build the profile based on your database and business understanding

    Example #1: Customer speaking Swedish, who purchased product X, uses the service
    a lot and showed interest in product Y.

    Example #2: Customer from England, visit the site daily, subscribed to the newsletter
    and commented more than 5 times in our blog.

  3. Build the profile based on your database and business intelligence

    Example #1: English speakers (75% of the registered users), Avg. amount of purchase
    > $100 (33% of users), users of the company’s main product (80% of users).

    Example #2: Mid 30’s Males (42% of users), arrived to the site *organically (69% of
    users).

    *organically – searched on google a keyword /phrase related to your business services.

PROFILE PRESENTATION / APPEARANCE

customer profile by age - customer gender profile - customer geographic profile

Now let’s have an example:

Let’s assume that our company name is – Fivver , our general product is a “Freelance
Services Marketplace for The Lean Entrepreneur” and we are now focusing on the web
designers section.

So basically without going into the business operation part:

  1. We are promoting freelancers.
  2. We are connecting between customers who need design work and the
    freelancers that can provide their needs.

How our customers could be looking like? This is a row-basic customer profile based on
what we believe that a regular customer will be look like:

  1. Gender: both
  2. Age: 20-40
  3. Location: worldwide
  4. Customer’s lifecycle and education: entrepreneur, someone who is building his
    business, mid-high education
  5. Economy group / Economic state: low-mid economic backing – can’t effort to hire
    full time designer
  6. Customer type: individual / small company / startup
  7. Customer goals: graphic design for web projects – demonstrating his skills and
    services he provide.
  8. Customer’s Interests: <hypothetic example> Shoe making (based on his desired
    web site to design)
  9. How does he consumes content: emails, newsletters, social media, blogs

After gathering this massive customer database, we hold useful information enabling
us to start profiling our customers on a whole new level.

Start basing the profiles of a macro (more general questions), then after getting a
general vision of the persona. Slowly begin to drill down to the micro segments while
dividing the customers according to product & market understanding and your own
vision.

What I do best, is to create some kind of a funnel based on charts that visualize data
from 2-3 parameters and slowly cut out the most significant groups.

Here’s a row example for (Fivver) – This is the direction of profiling you should be
going:

  1. customer gender and age graphHere we can see that the most active users are the Females in the age group of 30-40
    years old Cut this group out
  2.  

  3. customer online business type graphAmong the group of 30-40 Females we can see that most of the customers are ones
    who wanted to design a Self-Professional Services website and an Own Design Online
    Shop cut these groups out.
  4.  

  5. customer distribution by regionIn this chart we can see that among the 30-40 year old, Females, Design Shops &
    Professional Services – the highest percentage of customers is from South America
    and Asia.

I could continue going into details but I think the point is clear.

How our customer profile will look now:

Region: South America -or- Asia
Gender: Female
Need: Designing a website for either – Own Designs Online Shop -or- Professional
Services Provider

What else would be very important for us to be looking for?
For example – how much did these customers was willing to pay in avg. to the
freelancers to make the desired job?

For example: Avg. Payment: $15 per page

So now we know the basic characteristics of our customers and can better decide how to “tackle”
them and to “personalize” our promotions.

As part of the profiling process it is crucial to have the understanding of the customer’s
decision making process, based on your product / service activity requirements.
Continue with more defining questions about the customer’s role, guiding questions
like:

– When do they consider other options and looking at your competitors?
– Which features are the most important to your customers, and what will turn
them from a lead into an actual paying customer?
– What makes the customers initiate business?
– What do they expect from you as a company, and what are their likely barriers to
making a decision or proceeding with a purchase?

You should always evaluate your customer as a whole and group those who answer the most
crucial criteria’s for the profile (one which you “designed”).

Consider that: The world is moving fast, so always remember to re-evaluate your
position and knowledge. Refresh the profile from time to time is a must.

Last but not least, here are some cool features that can help you building your first
profile:

• XTENSIO
the free version of Xtensio, which lets you create up to 5 personas and gives you
access to all of the software’s tools and modules.

• BUYER PEROSINA – These templates offers valuable insights into why your
customers make the decisions they do.

• PERSONAPP – The draw of this tool is that you can set up a simple persona in no
time at all, and it includes options for easy sharing across your entire company.

• USEFORGE – Like Xtensio and PersonaDrive, UserForge is another tool that makes
collaboration between a team easy.

• CUSTOMER TYPE FORM – This tool walks you through nineteen questions that
help you flesh out a facsimile of your flesh-and-blood customers.

• AKOONU – Even the free version of Akoonu is packed with features which make
collaboration, dashboard administration, and audience targeting a cinch.

 

TO SUM UP

Weather your at the early stage of planning your selling product or if you a big
merchant working for years – Customer profiling is a must for any company who plan
on being successful!
Defining your customer’s persona -OR- Profiling your customers is not a clear-one
direction path to walk through but is a necessity. There are many aspects / point of
views which you should consider and change along the way, but you have to begin
with something – either you don’t have any customers yet or if you already holding a
whole data base of them.

Good Luck!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 + 6 =