When you look at what successful businesses do well in marketing and sales, it’s clear that they understand target audience. And while every company has its own way of identifying who customers are, one practical action step you can take is to develop customer profiles.
What are Customer Profiles?
Every customer out there is different. Each individual comes from a unique background with unique tastes and unique experiences. However, when you look at customers as a collection of people, it’s also easy to see some common trends and characteristics.
Most businesses have at least a couple of different “types” of customers in their target market. And for the purposes of personifying these groups, marketing and sales departments find it useful to develop customer profiles.
“Customer profiles are ‘customer types’, which are generated to represent the typical users of a product or service, and are used to help the project team make customer centered decisions without confusing the scope of the project with personal opinion,” Experience UX explains.
When you look at most marketing and sales strategies, they’re based on the opinions of the people within the company’s marketing and sales departments. Sometimes these opinions are useful, but often they’re marred by unrealistic ideas. After all, the team members inside of the company are rarely the end user or customer. This results in marketing campaigns, products, and services that don’t align with customer expectations.
Customer profiles assist businesses in seeing consumers as individuals, rather than inanimate objects. They help contextualize strategies and campaigns so that they’re executed with the audience in mind.
Customer profiles can be as detailed or generic as a business wants, but the more thorough they are, the better. Many businesses go as far as to create a name and backstory. Here would be an example of a customer profile for a jewelry store:
“John is a 29-year-old college graduate making $90k per year. He lives in a loft apartment in a recently revitalized area of downtown. John has been dating his girlfriend Stacey for a year and is preparing to propose. He plans on visiting at least two different jewelry stores and is looking to spend somewhere between $4k-$5k on an engagement ring. Other than the advice his mom and sister have given him, John really doesn’t know much about ring shopping. He gets most of his information via social media and blogs, but is looking for a personalized, in-store shopping experience that puts him at ease.”
Notice how detailed and specific the profile is. By filtering all sales and marketing efforts through this profile, the branding becomes much more relevant to the audience. Since not every customer will fit this category, the jewelry store may choose to create two or three different profiles.
5 Tips for Creating Customer Profiles That Drive Sales
If you’re interested in narrowing your approach and developing more relevant marketing campaigns, blog content, web design, etc., customer profiles will give you a huge boost.
Here are some tips to help you make these profiles as detailed and relevant as possible.
1. Focus on the Right Segmentations
In order for customer profiles to be effective, they must contain four different segmentation categories. According to this infographic from Bristol Strategy, a robust customer profile contains geographic (location), demographic (age, gender, etc.) psychographic (lifestyles and values), and behavioral information (spending habits, product knowledge, etc.).
2. Study Your Followers on Social Media
Social media is a treasure trove of information. Spend a little time each week “stalking” your followers on Facebook and Instagram. After looking through their profiles and seeing what sort of content they publish, how they talk, what they look like, and who they interact with, you’ll have a much better idea of who they really are.
3. Look at Your Website Analytics
While the insights you gather from social media will be subjective and surface level, you can gather some objective insights by studying your website analytics. In fact, this is probably the best method for gathering demographic information (assuming you have enough traffic to give you a worthy sample size).
4. Conduct Interviews With Customers
There are plenty of secondhand methods of gathering customer insights, but sometimes the best strategy is to take a direct approach and conduct interviews with the customers themselves.
“These interviews should help you gather both qualitative and quantitative information that will balance out your information and help you create useful client profiles,” HubSpot’s Jami Oetting writes. “Ideally, doing these in-person will provide you with the best information, but you could also use a survey tool to gather this data.”
5. Always Reevaluate
People change over time. In fact, most people change from week to week and month to month. What’s interesting to someone today might be boring to them next weekend. Having said that, you need to constantly reevaluate your customer profiles so that you’re continually addressing relevant needs and pain points. You don’t have to do this every day, but should go back to the drawing board at least a few times per year.
Personalization is the Future of Sales
There’s no question that the future of sales is all about personalization. The more you can focus your marketing and sales efforts on individual customers, the better the results will be. Customer profiles might not always be entirely accurate or scientific, but they’re certainly helpful in assisting businesses as they tailor messaging to the audience.