Customer profile

Session #4
Your Customer Profile: 5 powerful questions to ask about your prospect (before you design a webpage)

In Session #4, Flint McGlaughlin teaches how to convert prospect data into customer wisdom.

Here are some of the most important insights from this class:

  • For the Marketer Entrepreneur, the value of data is absolutely derived from its predictive power (Grand Customer Theory).
  • Focus not on the DEMOGRAPHICS; focus on the PSYCHOGRAPHICS.
  • We progress UP the funnel through a series of micro-yeses.
  • Embarrassment is often the price of marketing wisdom.
  • You can only change a page in three ways; you can (1) ADD, (2) REMOVE, or (3) CHANGE.

To get immediate help with your marketing challenges, just contact Flint and his team: F.McGlaughlin@MECLABS.com

Editor’s Note: This session includes a Classic Case Study. Sometimes the newer experiments involve a learning so profound to share it would give up competitive advantage. The Classic Experiments are old enough to allow us to share much more of the more data and learnings.

Related Resources

Essential Course Resource

Scaling to a $15 million company in 18 months by transparently serving an ideal customer and saying “no” to other business (Podcast Episode #1)

The Marketer as Philosopher – Reflection #7

The paradox of marketing is this: Our primary work is to “say”, but our primary art is to “hear.” Listening precedes telling. Hemingway is renown for advising the young writer to make every word count – “It is better to be lucky but I would rather be exact.” He is rarely quoted for his other advice, “When people talk, listen completely.” The marketer…Learn more about the book

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Your Customer Profile

Whether you’re a new company or an established business, your sales and marketing people have to make strategic decisions about your products and marketing campaigns. Smart decisions are usually driven by data and evidence, which requires customer profiling. If you can create a useful customer profile, you’ll empower your teams to make the right choices and target the right customers.

Creating an outstanding customer profile requires effort and time. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps of creating a great customer profile by covering these sections:

  • What is a customer profile
  • Benefits of a customer profile
  • Anatomy of a great customer profile
  • How to create customer profiles
  • Examples of customer profiles (templates) for your inspiration
  • Best customer profiling tools

What is a Customer Profile?

A customer profile is a document that features the personal attributes, income, location, preferences, interests, behavior, and buying patterns of new and existing customers. In most cases, the customer profile is presented in a way that looks like a detailed description of a real person, with a name and image. Customer profiling enables businesses to target their ideal audience with appropriate products or services. Customer profiles also take the guesswork out of advertising and marketing efforts, ensuring the business connects with customers who can complete a profitable action.

Benefits of Customer Profiling

As a business owner, you can’t be all things to everyone. A customer profile lets you learn about your ideal customer and their attributes. Here is how customer profiling can benefit your business:

Drives Up Revenue

When your advertising or marketing team knows your customer profile, they’re able to run ads that suit the ideal target audience. Better ads with appealing messaging will attract more people to buy products or services from your business. More sales translate into more revenue and profits. Customer profiling also helps determine the level of customer satisfaction with specific products or services. Armed with customer feedback, your marketers can determine products that customers like and create compelling ads around them.

Uncovers Valuable Opportunities

When your sales team knows what the ideal customers look like, they can quickly sort through new leads and move the most valuable opportunities through your company’s sales pipeline. Customer profiles expedite the sales process and make it easy to target future customers that have real intent of buying your products or services.

Simplifies Marketing

Profiling your customers helps your sales and marketing team be more strategic and creative when running their account based marketing campaigns. Since your team has an idea of what your target customers are like, they can advertise products or services to people who have a genuine interest in what your company or business has to offer them. Using the information and data they have, your salespeople and marketers can create interesting and engaging campaigns that have a real impact on your bottomline. Targeting your audience with the right solutions also helps your team avoid wasting time and effort on fruitless marketing campaigns.

Engages Your Prospects Better

Customer profiles allow your business to communicate with the right target audience. Using the insights you’ve gained about a specific segment of your market, your marketing team can create engaging ads for the group you’re targeting. You’ll know the age group that’s likely to buy your products and their likes and dislikes, meaning you can engage them at a personal level. As a result, you can create product marketing campaigns that are relevant and improve the overall customer experience and customer loyalty.

Anatomy of a Great Customer Profile

Collecting information about your ideal customers can be time-consuming, but it’s helpful for future marketing and business decisions. Some of the crucial data you’d want to gather when profiling potential customers includes the following:

1. Demographics

It’s basic information about your customers. Here are some demographic characteristics to gather:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Education level
  • Ethnicity
  • Job

2. Geographics

Where customers are located also matters. Geographics can can cover the following:

  • Neighborhood
  • Town or city
  • State
  • Country
  • Postal code or zip code

3. Psychographics

Psychographics refers to the beliefs and values that influence customer buying decisions. It tends to focus on personalities rather than outward attributes. A person’s socioeconomic status is a contributing factor. Psychographics usually include:

  • Opinions
  • Interests
  • Priorities
  • Habits
  • Lifestyles

4. Behavior

Determining a customer’s behavior typically involves knowing what the buyer persona feels and how they react when purchasing specific products. Consumer behavior falls into any of these four categories:

Habitual buying behavior: When customers buy items they are already familiar with or use regularly, they exhibit habitual behavior. Such customers don’t often see a significant difference between brands and have no motivation to research the items they want to purchase.

Complex buying behavior: This type of behavior shows when a customer buys an expensive product that they rarely purchase. Before buying a high-end product, the target customer will likely research the item and consult with their friends to have an opinion before making a purchase.

Variety-seeking behavior: Sometimes customers want to try different brands out of curiosity, not because a previous product didn’t meet their expectations. This behavior is common when there’s a low cost of switching between two or more products.

Dissonance-reducing buying behavior: Dissonance behavior is when customers don’t have options or find it difficult to determine which brand to buy from. Budget, time limitation, and availability often influence their decision-making.

5. Buying Patterns

Shopping or buying patterns indicate when customers are likely to buy specific products or services. Some customers may buy products regularly while others may do so on specific holidays. To better understand buying patterns, look at how often a person goes shopping and what they often buy at the store. Family, friends, and even neighbors influence what people buy regularly.

How to Create a Customer Profile 

Creating customer profiles is perhaps the most important phase when developing buyer personas and understanding the customer journey map. To create an accurate customer profile for your small business, follow these five steps:

1. Audit how people use your product or service

Start by auditing the ways people use your product or service. You’ll want to gain an in-depth understanding of your products or service offerings, then use insight to create helpful information. Some of the information sources that might come in handy during the auditing phase include:

Data you’ve gathered over time: This data covers users’ intent and preferences regarding existing products or services.

Information from your salespeople: Dig into your sales department customer relationship management system (CRM) and obtain qualitative information about who buys your products and why.

Marketing insights: Drill down on marketing data to see who has an interest in your product and the best ways to reach out to them.

Once you have a better understanding of your target audience, some patterns will start to emerge.

2. Engage with your customers

Go beyond the assumptions and basic information you have and connect with real customers to get first-hand insights. Real-world customer insights can help you gain a better understanding of customers and shape your marketing strategy. Here are effective ways to gather customer insight:

Customer interviews: If you’re unsure of how customers perceive your product, you can arrange one-on-one interviews with your ideal customers to develop a deep understanding.

Create and send surveys: Surveys can help you gather quantifiable data, which you can analyze and use to make data-driven marketing decisions.

Incentivize feedback: Another way to obtain valuable feedback is to dispatch surveys along with incentives for customer completion. This method can help you gather detailed information from your existing customer base.

3. Extract data from your online channels

Online channels are rich sources of customer data, and you can tap into them to learn more about your target audience. Each of your marketing channels can provide new and refreshing insights on who your best customers are, what information or topics resonate with them, and what they like to share online.

Evaluate your:

Web analytics: Show the products and content your customers are interested in and share insight on how they interact with your website.

Email data: Reveals how frequently the best customers engage with our brand and what type of content (newsletters, plain emails, blog links, and more) motivates them to open and read your marketing messages.

Social media analytics: Data from your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages reveals what type of content your ideal customers like to read, comment on, and share with their friends.

4. Fill out your customer profiles

Once you collect customer data, it’s now time to put the information to work and create your customer profiles. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Collate your findings: Move all your data into a central place, then sort it. Collating makes it easy to uncover key insights and uncover patterns.

Create an initial draft: With your findings now clear, you can go ahead and create the first draft. We’ll show you various examples and share customer profile templates you can use.

Get feedback from your team: Just to be sure the customer profile is accurate and useful, it’s crucial that you share the draft with your team members and obtain their feedback. For example, you could reach out to the sales and marketing team and find out whether the customer profile is accurate.

You can survey your top customers of who they’re rare. To get an accurate picture of the ideal customer, cover all customer attributes and gain insight into why they prefer to transact with your business. How much detail you go into when doing customer profiling is entirely up to you. Compile the information on a document that will serve as the customer profile. If you’re unsure how to structure the document, list the information in this order:

  • Give the customer a name 
  • Put a face to their profile
  • Add demographic information
  • List psychographic and socioeconomic attributes
  • Add a quote from the customer
  • Add their pain points, goals, and motivators
  • Add their ideal communication channel

4. Use your customer profiles

Once you create the customer profile and share it with your team, it’s time to make the best use of it. You can set a trial period for the ideal customer profile. For example, your sales and marketing teams can use the customer profile month-to-month and regularly assess whether it really works for them.

At the end of the trial period, you can collect feedback from your entire company. You can make adjustments to the customer profile based off the feedback. This window gives you the opportunity to refine and polish the customer personas to reflect actual use.

5. Maintain your customer profiles

Now that you have tested the customer profile, your salespeople and marketers can go ahead and use it in all upcoming promotional activities. It’s important that you stay on top of things and ensure your customer profile reflects reality. Remember, customers’ interests and preferences may change over time. So, you want to make sure you maintain the profiles regularly. Here are a few ways to make sure you have a useful customer profile:

  • Review and revise customer profiles regularly
  • Incorporate new insights from the sales team into the profiles
  • Use your marketing channels to monitor changes or new developments

Examples of Customer Profile Templates

While it’s possible to create a customer profile from scratch, it’s a good idea to use a template. There are various customer template profiles online that can help you create accurate personas. Just enter the information in the fields provided. You can also modify the fields – add or remove them. Below are customer profile examples that can give you a great head start as you build customer profiles for your company.

Advanced Systems – Comprehensive Customer Profile Template

Advanced Systems also has a fantastic customer profile template that gives you plenty of room to fill out demographic and psychographic details of your target customer. You can use it to create a robust form. What we like about the template from Advanced System is it includes a psychographics section that can provide your salespeople with interesting insights that can shape their sales strategies.

Market Republic – Ideal Customer Profile

This customer profile template from Market Republic covers the key areas that any good profile needs to include. On the document, you will find lots of space to fill out essential demographic and practical details. Like some of the templates here, this option offers a strong leaning towards the pain points of new and current customers. Like many of the other templates in this list, this option steers you toward a strong focus on pain points.

Research & Discovery

If you’re looking for other options, you can also check out the Customer Profile Template from Research & Discovery. It covers most of the attributes of the ideal customer.

Best Customer Profile Software

When creating your ideal customer profiles, you’ll need to use the best tools in the market. Here are a few customer profile software solutions that can come in handy for targeting the right audience for your business.

UpLead – Powerful Data Enrichment

UpLead is a B2B lead generation solution that helps your business discover, connect, and engage with qualified prospects. With this customer profile software, you can sort through high-quality leads quickly. UpLead gives sales and marketing professionals access to over 45 million verifiable business contacts. They can use available sorting options to zero in on their ideal leads online.

HubSpot CRM – Powerful Customer Tracking

HubSpot CRM is a sales, marketing, and service CRM solution that caters to businesses with various customer types. Your sales and marketing team can use it to streamline their work and enhance productivity. This CRM comes with tracking, reporting, and various third-party integrations to enhance your capabilities. With HubSpot CRM, you can obtain great insights about your customers and create awesome profiles.

SurveyMonkey – Multi-Purpose Survey Software

SurveyMonkey is a flexible survey platform that lets you interact with customers in a number of ways. You can create attractive, comprehensive surveys and collect data for decision-making. With SurveyMonkey, you can learn about your customers and use the information you collect to map out their profiles.

Closing Thoughts

We hope you’ve learned how to make an accurate customer profile for your business. You can use these strategies to obtain valuable information and integrate these customer profiling tools to help you create buyer personas. Once you put together your customer profiles, you can use them in your marketing or product campaigns and refine them based on customer feedback.

Course Retention Exercise

This quiz is carefully designed based on the latest learning technology in order to help you improve retention of the key principles.