Your Customer Profile
“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.” – Michael LeBoeuf
With the trend towards ‘digital business’, often your customer knows more about you than you do about them. Consumers have become experts: at the touch of a smartphone or tablet they can educate themselves about any product or service, how much it should cost, the best way to get it and who to get it from.
No-one will ever part with money for your product or service unless you can convince them that it will solve a problem that they have. Working out who you are selling to and what their problems are is the first task when writing your new marketing plan and establishing your customer profile.
If you are already in business you will probably already have a good feel for your customer profile – but take a look at your top / best-spending customers from the last 6 / 12 months and see how you can categorise the different types.
If you are just starting business then you need to make sure you have done your research. If you are planning to launch into a market that you know nothing about then you need to make sure you partner up with someone who does! That may be an external marketing advisor with experience of that sector or just someone who works in the industry that can answer your questions.
Download our marketing plan template
In reality, most companies only sell to one kind of customer – some sell to two or three. If you sit down come up with lots of different types of people who you are trying to sell to, then you are trying to sell to too many. Your resulting marketing will be too unfocused to be effective. Or it may be that you are thinking about all the people you currently sell to, but don’t necessarily want to. Focus just on the people you really want to target and who will likely earn you the most money from your efforts.
Once you have an idea of who you are selling to, it’s time to create a customer profile for each one. Regardless of whether you sell business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) you are still selling to people. It will be a person who decides they need your product or service, a person who comes to your website, a person who places the order and a person who ultimately benefits from what you sell. If you are B2B then a useful alternative would be to refer to them as H2H (human-to-human) or P2P (professional-to-professional)!
Have some fun with this. Come up with names for each customer type – Tradesman Terry or Solicitor Sarah! Find photos to put on their profile sheets, add in extra information like what websites they visit regularly or what motivates them.
Specifics within a customer profile
With your customer in mind, answer the following questions:
- What is their gender? Are the decision-makers mainly female, male or genuinely an equal mix of both?
- How old are they as a rule of thumb?
- What is their level of education?
- What is their average income?
- Do they need the product (either personally or in their business) or is it a luxury?
- How do they use the product or service?
- What do they value the most? Not just about your product / service but in their job or day to day life.
- Do they impulse buy the product or do they save for it?
- Where do they go to get their decision making information? (Google / their contacts / seek professional advice?)
- Where are they physically and geographically located?
- What time of day would they look for your product or service?
If you can’t answer 8 out of the 10 ten questions about your customer then you are never going to be able to sell to them and you’ve failed to create a customer profile! People will only pay you money if you can solve a problem for them – and you need to know what those problems are and how your product solves it.
Defining your customer profile dictates every marketing decision you make. For example, if you are looking at using Google Pay Per Click advertising to capture people searching for what you sell, you need to know when they are online doing their buying. Are they sat in an office 9-5 or are they a self-employed tradesperson who catches up on their admin in the evening? What motivates them – is it simply enough to throw-in a surprise chocolate bar every now and again with orders to keep them coming back to you, or do they value the after-sales support more than the product itself?
KNOWING your customer profile allows you to make sure you can sell to them … if you don’t know them, then find out. Or get advice from someone who does – marketing experts and business coaches / mentors should take this very seriously.