In this article, you will learn everything about one of the best ways to get deeper insights into your audience — Customer Profiling.
Consumer Profiling has helped hundreds of brands across the globe segment their clients and reach out to them in a more effective manner.
Read on to find out what customer profiling is, and how can it help achieve your business goals. You will also see some examples, and explore the process of building actionable customer profiles.
All businesses want to grow and develop. All businesses want to build a community of loyal customers who are satisfied, promote their brand, and always come back for more. But such a relationship can’t come out of the blue.
First, you need to understand the people you sell something to. This understanding will allow you to prevent negative experiences, provoke positive emotions, identify the most effective marketing channels, and more.
So, what is a customer profile?
Customer or consumer profiles (or buyer personas) help you understand who your current and/or ideal customers are. Based on the actual data, they represent customers who act and think similarly.
Thus you can segment all your clients into several groups and approach them differently. Without profiling, customer targeting turns into shots in the dark.
TLDR: Customer Profile Definition:
In marketing, a customer profile (consumer profile) is a detailed description of your existing customers. Consumer profiling identifies demographic and psychographic data, pain points, and purchasing behavior, to create a profile you can use for your sales and marketing campaigns to accurately target similar customers.
Customer segmentation is a grouping of customers based on common characteristics like age, marital status, location, channels, etc. It comes in handy when you want to run a targeted campaign, which is sometimes enough. As today customer personality has become a major focus, general segmentation seems too narrow and a bit old-fashioned. That’s when consumer profiling takes the stage.
Consumer profiling is about the consumer’s experience and its improvement. This approach uses segmentation characteristics but pays more attention to the customer’s habits, previous experiences, pain points, touchpoints, etc. In the first place, it aims to understand customers, offer a better experience, service, or product. Of course, at the end of the day, it makes them buy more, recommend you to friends, and write positive reviews.
So, basically, the key difference between segmentation and profiling is customer personality. Segmentation is like an empty shell, while profiling gives it a soul you can relate to. But look at the methods as partners in marketing crime, not as sworn enemies, and use both to create the fullest profile that will allow you to target the right people and get to know them at the same time.
TLDR? Customer Profiling vs. Segmentation:
Customer profiling and segmentation overlap significantly, however profiling takes segmentation a step or two further by focusing more on the customer’s psychographic data, their personality, buying habits, and pain points. Focusing on the more emotional aspects yields a profile that will help you use more relevant, meaningful and persuasive ways to communicate with and engage your customers.
As we mentioned above, customer profiling is the key to truly understanding your audience. Not only to learn their age, sex, location, or hobby but identify their buying patterns.
For instanсe, a profile for a male of 25 years who lives in New York and loves music can include such important details as what kind of music it is, how frequently he buys new tracks, what channels he uses, what troubles he has with it, how he searches for new music, what payment method he considers the best, and so on.
Such information provides more relevance to business strategies and decisions. It enables you to improve your product or service as well as communication with customers. And that’s not all.
Other customer profiling benefits include:
There are different ways to do consumer profiling. Each refers to a certain segmentation: psychographics, buying traits, buying motivations, social statuses, and so on.
For instance, one offers you to focus on what drives a customer to buy this or that product, another explores the lifestyle and hobbies of the consumers, and the third is more about sex, income, and occupation.
There can be different criteria for grouping customers, and demographics and behavior are the two most common ones. The former works like a charm when it comes to targeted advertising on social media, the latter does you a good turn when you want to get valuable insights into how to improve buyers’ experience and your product or service in general.
Behavior-based profiles are usually the most beneficial. You can enhance them with demographic and geographic data to create a comprehensive customer profile template, but the most beneficial information to have this their behavioral data.
What is a customer profile? Let’s put our researcher’s shoes on and take 5 steps, minding what information we need to gather:
Use quantitative (e.g., measuring, calculating) and qualitative (e.g., interviews, observations) methods. You don’t need to get the answer from all of your customers or users, but you have to gather enough feedback to identify patterns and prove their credibility.
Here are some ways to gather the information:
This step is about analyzing the data you gathered during research. You need to see what people with the same role (an accountant, for example) have in common. These things show what affects them when they try to solve their problems, fulfill their goals, solve problems, or interact with your product.
Here you have to take the attributes, decide what values they can have, and turn those into the scales. Try to come up with at least 3 attributes per scale, but don’t push yourself to create as many attributes as possible (3-7 is the optimal variant).
Hints to use as attributes for your scales:
Add all the research participants to your scales, based on their answers. You will get something like this:
If you see the same respondents at the same positions at least 5 times, it’s a sign that you’ve got client profiling material here. Keep looking for the matching data to find other repeating patterns that are the ground to build your customer profiles upon. Mind that any unique pattern can be transformed into yet another consumer profile and matters for your business.
So, now you have grouped your customers, and it’s time to turn them into profiles.
There are different tools to digitize customer data and transform it into profiles that are always at hand. Some even have generators that select the most suitable name and picture that fit your persona’s criteria. Here, we’ll use the UXPressia platform to build a customer profile template online.
There are more sections to use inside the UXPressia CJM tool. It’s up to you whether to describe your customer’s previous experience, their current environment, or a scenario to put them in. Each section is customizable, so feel free to create a unique information block that makes sense in your particular case.
When the customer profile template is ready, you can always broaden or optimize it. Don’t forget to update the created profile with time to capture the up-to-date situation. Share the result with your colleagues and invite them to cooperate.
So, now you know how to build an actionable consumer profile, what approaches are best to use and why, and how to combine different methods. It will not only help you run successful marketing campaigns but create relevant content and develop your product or service in the right direction.
For more inspiration material, check out UXPressia’s ready-to-use templates. Happy mapping!
A customer profile is a document with a fictional persona that represents a group of your customers with similar needs, pain points, motivations, background, interests, skills, goals, and so on. Such profiles help to deeper understand your audience and approach each group differently.
There are many ways to create a customer profile, but the most accurate ones are usually based on behavioral traits. The behavior-based approach means that you conduct research, identify behavioral attributes and scales, put the answers on the scales, look for patterns, and thus get material for consumer profiles.
You can use a) pen and paper, b) online documents (it’s more convenient for remote collaborative work), c) professional tools that turn your data into designer-quality customer profiles (such as Make My Persona, UXPressia, Xtensio, and so on).
Customer segmentation divides your audience into groups by demographics, interests, goals, and other characteristics, but, unlike customer profiling, this method doesn’t go further. It helps to frame and target the right people, and sometimes it’s enough (e.g., for target advertising). Customer profiling approaches customers from another angle, focusing on their behavior and identifying patterns. This method turns data into an actionable file that feels like a real person, evokes empathy, and provides insights into improving customer experience.