Every marketer wants a powerful customer profile in their toolkit. A well-designed customer profile provides a powerful snapshot of buyer needs and desires, pain points, and motivations.
The customer profiles I create for my clients include all this plus behavior & beliefs that get at the psychological reason for purchase or hesitation. Let’s explore how to make your customer profiles high-value, and how you can use them to boost your marketing efforts.
Customer Profiles: Your Brand’s Sorting Hat
Start by laying out all the information you have on your customers. Explore any existing customer data you have, including customer feedback, survey responses, market research, and the like.
Start to build customer profiles based on why customers buy from you. Ask: What do your customers value that you offer? Why do they return to you? What kind of customer benefits from your offering? And what kind of customers do you most value? Sift through your customer data for answers and patterns; you should start to see some emerge.
These patterns are the formation of your customer profile(s). You’ll want to separate profiles that seem different. Study customer attitudes towards your category, and any differing needs and desires. Look at customers that are your regulars versus those that are occasional. What’s the difference?
Add demographic information about your customers – like age, income, gender, lifestage, and, as relevant: company / industry, years in the industry, their direct buying power, and what their major work responsibilities and activities are. Ask yourself: what do they have in common? How are they different?
(If you don’t have this information, consider investing in customer research to learn more about your customers. Understanding your customers is vital to designing a brand & experience they will love.)
Include media habits. What social platform are they on? Think through the kinds of conferences, forums and networking events they attend. Think about traditional media they consume, and explore new media like youtube channels, apps and podcasts. This will help you understand where you can “meet” them with your marketing efforts.
Needs & Desires
You’ll want to get clear on customer needs & desires. In looking at how they approach your brand, ask:
- What are they trying to accomplish?
- Why are they unable to accomplish this goal? What’s holding them back?
- What motivates them?
- Why they come to your category? Is it proactive or reactive behavior?
- Why do they buy from you – what do you offer that they deeply value?
These questions are so important to your profile, so take some time, here. These answers can yield key insights into how your customers act, and how to capture their attention and gain mindshare.
Behavior & Beliefs
About behavior and beliefs: right. This might come as a shock (!) but people are not always straightforward. They often say one thing but act completely differently. So it’s important to study how your customer actually uses your product, versus what they tell you. Ask:
- When does she need your product?
- Why does she use it?
- How does she approach your category: with joy or agony?
- What does he believe about your category?
- Is he receptive or resistant to it?
- What are the beliefs underneath that receptivity or resistance?
As an example: if you have a plastic surgery practice, think through the beliefs a customer might have around plastic surgery. If you have a fitness center, think through your customer’s receptiveness – or hesitancy – towards your category. If you have a tax service, think through your customer’s beliefs he might hold around taxes and money. This can reveal what’s holding him back. As a result, when you design your marketing, you can address those concerns.
Also, investigate what other products they use. Many might not be using a competitor product, but a substitute product. In lieu of a fitness center, they might be doing online fitness classes. In lieu of a tax service, they might be using an application. By studying substitute behavior, you can learn a lot about your target’s motivations and true desires, and the effort they’re willing to go through to address their needs.
Compile the Customer Profile
With all this information on hand, compile your customer profile. You can use use a template like the one above – a one pager that summarizes your customer. Focus your profile down to a key insight that crystallizes what drives your customer – or holds her back. This is what you’re working towards.
Congratulations! You finished your first customer profile. Do this exercise for each customer segment you discovered in the sorting exercise at the top.
Your goal is to understand your different customer profiles so you can address each segment, respectively. You might discover that you don’t have one customer profile, but actually a few. That’s okay. Different behaviors and mindsets will need different messaging strategies. You’ll want to deploy different messages to reach different customers – it’s more work, but it will make your marketing so much more effective!
As always, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to connect with us for a chat. We’re always here to help you with your branding if you need help.