Creating a Customer Profile For Your BusinessWhat makes up a customer profile? It depends on whether your customers are businesses or consumers. In either case, you typically start with your own customer data (such as location, purchases, spending volume), append additional consumer or business data, then group into segments that share similar characteristics. Customer profiling provides much needed structure to a marketing plan. It helps you (and us) understand what the ideal customer is looking for, what matters to them most and how best to speak to them.
In one of our previous articles, ‘Marketing strategy defined success’, we have slightly touched the meaning and role of customer persona for business: The important element of any market research is to understand who is that person you are targeting. Male or female? Teenager or retiree? Single or Married? What does he/she like? And many more questions that you need to answer before starting your planning. In the world of marketing, this is known as ‘creating customer persona’. Below we provide an example of the customer persona created by Brightspark Social Media, a digital marketing agency:
One of the most common mistakes small businesses make as they try to grow is attempting to be everything to everyone. “Tapping into” a new market seems lucrative and exciting, and very often, the leap is made even before proper research is done into whether that market is suitable or even brand-aligned. To truly understand a consumer group (especially the one you already have), more effort needs to be put into diving deeper than the surface. At the end of the day, truly understanding and meeting your consumers’ needs is the key to a thriving business. So how do you go about getting to know your consumers in a deeper, more relatable way? And how do you put that information into a ‘consumer profile’ to benefit your business? By outlining all the details including age, job position, preferred communication methods and the main needs and wants with regards to digital services, Brightspark Social Media is a successful business, as they know everything about their clients! Sounds great, right? There is no fixed set of points that you have to include in your company’s customer persona. Are you opening a beauty saloon? Find out what beauty products your clients use; how often they go for haircut or manicure; what beauty pages they follow on Facebook. Are you starting a fast-food chain? Explore what the eating habits of your customers are: how often they eat; meat-lovers or vegetarians; prefer eat outside or order delivery? We can provide thousands example, but only you know your business better than anyone else! Take a piece of paper, describe your business in 5-6 points and start building your customer persona based on it. Surveys, interviews, and social media websites are also your best friends in this journey!
Start with the data you haveLook first to the data that is most readily available – usually, this will be the data that you obtain from Facebook, Google Analytics, and other platforms like Adwords. This will give you the basic demographic data of your consumer base, such as age, gender, and location. From here, you can identify your ‘typical’ customer by looking at the age range, gender, and location that comes up the most. You can then extend your hypothesis a little to include factors like spending power, disposable income, marital status, etc. After identifying your main consumer, you can also make note of smaller categories that you may be able to target in the future.
Look beyond demographicsNext, take your consumer profile a step further by filling out the details a little more. Consider the lifestyle that your typical consumer leads. Do they travel? Go to the gym? Shop online? Consider also their knowledge and skills – are they tech savvy? Are they mobile? Are they familiar with the product you are selling? Finally, consider the issues your consumers face, and how your product gives them a solution. Once you have this consumer profile set up, target your communications to match this profile to make yourself relatable and “pull” your consumers in (as opposed to “pushing” your product on people). According to ConsumerPsychologist. the study of consumers helps firms and organizations improve their marketing strategies by understanding issues such as how:
- The psychology of how consumers think, feel, reason, and select between different alternatives (e.g., brands, products, and retailers);
- The psychology of how the consumer is influenced by his or her environment (e.g., culture, family, signs, media);
- The behavior of consumers while shopping or making other marketing decisions;
- Limitations in consumer knowledge or information processing abilities influence decisions and marketing outcome;
- How consumer motivation and decision strategies differ between products that differ in their level of importance or interest that they entail for the consumer; and
- How marketers can adapt and improve their marketing campaigns and marketing strategies to more effectively reach the consumer.
Consider focus groups/surveysEven after you set up your consumer profile and begin your marketing plan, it’s always a good idea to run regular focus groups and surveys to continuously check that you are on the right track. In your focus groups/surveys, try to resist focusing purely on ‘business’ – i.e., “What product should I launch?”, or “What price point should I set this at?” Instead, include questions that give you a clearer picture of who your consumer is, and how you can make their lives better. The better you understand your consumer, the more effective your marketing will be – above and beyond details like packaging and price point.
Impact of Digital Marketing on Consumer BehaviourThe digital era has and will continue to change consumer behavior. Consumers today are not following the traditional tunnel whilst social media has revolutionized the way people converse on a personal level. Brands need to adopt a radical new thinking when approaching digital to stay relevant and drive home their message with impact. According to Intelliassist, the biggest change in consumer behavior is that consumers expect a consistent and personalized experience. Consumers desire and expect personalized messaging from brands. Marketers should connect with them at the right places at right times, which involves increased real-time localization. Modern consumers are not loyal customers, they are more variety seekers. This has left previously logo-heavy companies struggling to assimilate their product to suit modern tastes.
The prime change in consumer behavior is that consumers increasingly turn away from anything they perceive as marketing. As consumers are becoming tech savvy they are becoming impatient towards intrusive or irrelevant content and messages. More than 25% smartphone users have installed ad blockers and this number is increasing rapidly. Instead, they look towards small groups of people who have a high level of credibility in their specific industry or category to influence their buying decisions. As consumers spend more time on these social media platforms, decisions about what to purchase often reflect interactions with friends and other influencers. In response, leading marketers are adapting their strategies to reach increasingly networked consumers and placing more stress on tactics such as word-of-mouth marketing and storytelling, which nowadays have a greater impact on marketing decisions of consumers.