Understand who your customers are

The more you understand about who your potential customers are, the easier it will be reach them, turning their interest into a sale. To understand who your potentials customers are, develop a list of customer attributes. These customer attributes should take into account:

If your offering is new the market, you’ll need to speculate who is most likely going to use your product or service. Talk with prospects or request them to complete a customer survey to learn more about who they are and what their interests may be. Ask those who purchased your product what the compelling reason was for their purchase. With a list of attributes in hand, you’ll be able to develop a customer profile or persona that you can use to create your marketing strategy for extending your reach.

Types of customer attributes

Business

  • Product or service offering
  • Product life cycle
  • Location or address
  • Lease, rent or own property
  • Operations are geographically dispersed
  • Culture: flat vs. multi-level, regional headquarters versus colonization approach, decision making process
  • Single or multiple regions served
  • Number of products and/or product lines
  • Number of target markets served
  • Legal status: Corporation, sole proprietor, limited liability company or partnership, nonprofit, or government entity
  • Industry
  • Private or public organization
  • Revenue: Amount, profitable or not
  • Customers: Number, locations, type, size, etc.
  • Purchasing habits
  • Supplier, partner relationships, and their respective qualifications
  • Organization needs – HR, Finance, Marketing, Legal, Operations, C-Level support, Supply Chain, Technology, etc.
  • Budget – amount on a monthly, quarterly, and annual basis; approval process

Consumer (or End User)

  • Age
  • Household or median income
  • Location: Business/home address, services nearby, etc.
  • Employer: Nonprofit vs. profit, size or number of employees, etc.
  • Occupation and title
  • Commute or telecommute
  • Social/Athletic/Religious/Political organizations associated with or supported
  • Education level – doctorate, graduate, college, high school degrees

Environment

  • Geography
  • Local versus global outlook
  • Customization required to accommodate individual or regional tastes and preferences (food products, art, building designs, etc.)
  • Weather
  • Nature versus urban needs
  • Animal affection
  • Technology availability (cable, 4G, etc.)

Lifestyle or Life Cycle Traits

  • Age factors/stages: Child, teen, young adult, mid-life, menopause, retirement; parent/ child-less; relationship stage – dating, marriage, widow or widower
  • Family focus: Children – ages, sex, schools – public/private, size, demographics of student body, academic/extracurricular activities focused; older parents to take care of; penchant for gatherings
  • Political beliefs/activism: Civic rights, environment, international politics, terrorism, war, poverty, energy
  • Sports interest: Soccer, baseball, football, volleyball, etc.; youth or adult; professional or volunteer
  • Religious beliefs/activism
  • Personality traits: Open/closed to new ideas, positive/negative outlook, values privacy, compulsive, analytical, risk adverse, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Life changes: Child birth/adoption, child leaving the ‘nest,’ death, terminal illness/diagnosis, home purchase/major remodel; behavior change – overcoming addiction, opening a new business, etc.
  • Health condition and perceptions: Exercise, diet, medical needs, pharmaceuticals, sports, etc.
  • Education level: High school graduate, college, degree(s), etc.
  • Professional/work life experience: Number of years, industry, type of work
  • Web usage: Research, online banking/payment processing, games, social networking, website preferences, surveys, work related activities, design, photography, preferred browser, email preference (html or text), etc.
  • Mobile usage: Call, messaging, online research, games, etc.
  • Financial security: Insurance needs – home, auto, life, etc.; savings, investments, perceptions regarding risks, etc.
  • Purchasing habits: Online or offline, preference for where and when, etc.
  • Product preferences: Key features and benefits

Discover more…

  1.  “Benefits of Using Personas and User Profiles Together.” TandemSeven (blog). Accessed May 10, 2020. http://www.tandemseven.com/blog/benefits-of-using-personas-and-user-profiles-together-8/.
  2. Ciotti, Greg. “How to Create Customer Profiles to Reach Your Target Audience.” Convince and Convert, LLC. Accessed May 10, 2020. http://www.convinceandconvert.com/social-media-strategy/how-to-create-customer-profiles-to-reach-your-target-audience/.
  3. “Demographics.” SBDCNet. Accessed July 30, 2019. http://www.sbdcnet.org/industry-links/demographics-links.
  4. Devault, Gigi.  “Consumer Profile:  Defining the Ideal Customer.”  The Balance Small Business. Last modified January 8, 2020.  https://www.thebalancesmb.com/consumer-profile-defining-the-ideal-customer-2296932.
  5. Efti, Steli. “How to Create Your Ideal Customer Profile for B2B Lead Generation.” Elastic Inc. (blog). Last modified March 5, 2015. http://blog.close.io/ideal-customer-profile.
  6. Kaplan, Kate. “When and How to Create Customer Journey Maps.” Nielsen Norman Group. Last modified July 31, 2016. https://www.nngroup.com/articles/customer-journey-mapping/.
  7.  “Meet Your Customer.” Mapping Analytics LLC. Accessed January 31, 2020. http://www.mappinganalytics.com/customer-profiling/customer-profiling.html.
  8. Porta, Mandy. “How to Define Your Target Market.” Inc. Accessed May 10, 2020. http://www.inc.com/guides/2010/06/defining-your-target-market.html.
  9.  “Three Simple Steps to Creating An Ideal Customer Profile.” The Whole Brain Group (blog). Last modified April 19, 2016. https://thewholebraingroup.com/blog/steps-to-creating-an-ideal-customer-profile/.
  10. Vaughan, Pamela. “How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas for Your Business [Free Persona Template].” HubSpot Blogs. Last modified May 28, 2015. http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33491/Everything-Marketers-Need-to-Research-Create-Detailed-Buyer-Personas-Template.aspx.
  11. Wentworth, Tom. “3 Key Ways Marketers Should Personalize the Online Experience.” Mashable, Inc. Last modified October 2, 2015. http://mashable.com/2015/10/01/personalized-online-experience/#E0pbk4jbaqqK.
  12. Wojcik, Russell.  “Customer Profiles, Personas, and Buyer’s Journeys: What to Know and How to Build Them.” DigitalCurrent (blog). Last modified  July 31, 2019.  https://www.digitalcurrent.com/blog/customer-profiles-and-buyer-personas-defined/.