So, I had a discussion with a small business owner the other day when the topic of customer profiling came up. No, it’s not anything nefarious. On the contrary, customer profiling brings your marketing into razor sharp focus. Customer profiling answers the question “who is your customer?” Here’s how it works.
Some Customers Better Fit
For most businesses, regardless of whether you sell products or services, there are certain customers that are much more likely to be buyers than others. If you sell beauty supplies, you probably have no trouble visualizing who your highest probability buyers are going to be. Or, conversely, you could likely predict those people who are most likely not likely to be your best customers.
So, Which Are The Best Customers?
Over time, most companies have many indicators about buyers and their buying habits. Experienced sales people can almost always tell you who the best prospects are based on various factors including gender, geographical proximity, education, age bracket, income level, nationality, etc. The broader your business products and services the more likely you’ll have multiple target customers to profile. For example, if you are a nursery that sells plants and gardening supplies, you might have both wholesale and retail customers.
You might be one of those folks who balk at some of those examples, but there are quite legitimate reasons for a business to focus their marketing on high-income males, or Hispanic families with younger children. Examples? How about multi-million dollar custom fishing boats, and a company that sells dresses quinceaneras. These are just two examples of very different customer targets. Marketing to each requires completely different tactics and
Multiple Customer Profiles
The broader your business products and services the more likely you’ll have multiple target customers to profile. For example, if you are a nursery that sells plants and gardening supplies, you might have both wholesale and retail customers. But, then you’ll want to sort out things like homeowners vs apartment renters. How far is a customer prospect willing to travel to do business with you? For donut shops and gasoline stations, it’s not very far as a rule. Hair salons can be all over the place. I know of one salon whose customers will travel hundreds of miles to have their hair done. Those customers are almost completely white females, age 49-75, with high disposable income.
Knowing Your Target Customers Pays
Sometimes, it’s helpful to name your customer profiles. Literally, give them a persona, and get as specific as you can about each. You cannot know enough about your customer’s preferences over time. Armed with detailed customer profiles, you now have a great way to zero in on specific marketing tactics and evaluate for best fit or no fit. Just be sure not to let your customer profiles get too stale. Things change, and it’s vitally important that you return to your marketing plan and reevaluate all your data points and assumptions and update them.
Go Forth and Profile Away!
One thing I do hear fairly often is that the business owners or company management are just too busy to do this profiling thing. It does require some effort and time and planning. Garbage in, garbage out as they say. So doing it right is important. If this is you or your company then consider hiring somebody to help. Somebody like KeyResults.com will offer a variety of services from turnkey to facilitation to research to get your customer profiles created or updated in no time.