Companies like Jumia, Konga, Unilever, UAC Foods, Dangote Group and so on are highly revered because of the successes achieved in their respective industry in the African market.
You may be wondering; what sets and continue to push these companies on the success path? Their heavy investment portfolio? Their workforce or leadership? Think all these and you may be right. But those are all dependent variables that cannot go far without a key element of business, the Ideal customer profile.
Your business’ Ideal customer profile predicts what products your customers want and the best ways to market them. My post; who is an Ideal customer and why does it matter in your business discussed why this concept must be treated with utmost seriousness. If you have not read it, I feel you should before getting up to this.
So what is exactly is a customer profile?
Also known as buyer persona in the marketing parlance, an ideal customer profile is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It’s a way of describing a consumer categorically so that they can be grouped for marketing and promotional purposes.It helps your business in so many ways and across divides; sales, marketing, product development, service rendering, name it.
It’s a critical element of your business you cannot afford to miss out.
So, how do you create one since an ideal customer profile is that important in business?
Before we dive into that, let’s briefly take a swipe on how it can be used in marketing and business promotional purposes.
How to use customer profile for marketing and business development purposes
Business customer profile enables you to target or personalise your marketing for different segments of your audience.
If you own a retail business, it determines how your stocks should be placed on shelves for a good shopping experience in your store.
It helps service business generates quality leads that will convert to paying customer seamlessly, without the recurring threats of losing deals, since you know who your prospects should be and the best approach to pitch them.
It helps service business generates quality leads that will convert to paying customer seamlessly, without the recurring threats of losing deals, since you know who your prospects should be and best approach to pitch them.
Among healthcare providers, a good customer profile allows for quality healthcare delivery. And that, in turn, promotes words of mouth business promotion. You know what to expect at a certain season, events or periods if you’re dealing with mum, aged, millennials and so on
Therefore, with the customer profile, businesses and marketers can find more success in selling a particular product and increase profits by targeting the right set of audience in a specific market segment.
Now, the importance of customer profile is clearer. How then do you create one for your business? Let’s dive in.
How to create an effective customer profile
The key to creating a suitable and working customer profile in business is asking questions and providing/getting genuine answers to same. Simply put, to create a custom customer profile, you do a research, survey and interviews of your target audience. Information gathering.
So, it’s time to turn to your customer mix; existing customers, prospects and those within reach that aligns with your business audience.
The ways major businesses approach this is by viewing their audience from two key dimensions; their demographic and psychographic. Let me explain briefly.
With demographics, you find and describe your audience by categorising them into the following, if the factors impact their buying behaviour while dealing with your business;
- Age: What should be or what is the age of your ideal customer?
- Gender: Are your ideal customers male or female, and how does the gender affect the style?
- Ethnicity: In Africa and Nigeria in particular where the impacts of ethnicity on the population transcends every area of life, it’s important to find how this plays a key part in their interaction with your business.
- Occupation: What are the occupations of your ideal customers?
- Educational level: What is the educational level of your audience? Obviously, this impacts their thinking.
- Household: Are you selling products that affect a whole family concern? If you own a school, for example, note that the parents will enrol their child in your school only if they can entrust the future of the family to your care. So, what do you have to make them confident so?
- Religion: Religion is all too many people especially in Africa. So, how will this impact your customer’s buying decision? Some religion frowns at the wearing of trousers by women for example, while some other ones are determined how people dress generally. So if your business is domiciled in such environment, an understanding of this will help in no small measure.
- Physical characteristics: What does the physique of your audience say about their buying decision. How does skin colour, type of hair and so on, impact their behaviour?
In creating an effective customer profile, the psychographic disposition of your audience must be factored in. That is the mental characteristics, including beliefs and interests, that define your customer. The why in how they take buying decisions.
With this, you find out if and how the following impacts their buying behaviour and use it to establish your buyer persona:
- Favorite TV shows, music, websites, or media
- Spending habits
- Political views
Warning! It’s a thing of common experience that CEOs and marketers dwell on their gut in proffering answers to all the above (demographic and psychographics). Don’t be tempted. While it may be normal to go with your gut on some answers, this will most predictably fail you especially if you don’t have reliable facts to back it up.
It should be easy arriving at your customer profile if you’re already in business. Try spending a few hours tracking your existing customers. When possible, strike up a conversation to learn about their neighbourhood and family, mental characteristics, including beliefs and interests that define your customer.
Remember, the reason you’re making a customer profile is not just to have a cool avatar hanging on your wall. It’s so you can figure out how to sell and market better to your different customer segments.
Having an effective customer profile again underscores the importance of adopting modern (internet marketing approach) in business.
A business website, especially eCommerce ones create an easy aura to establish a database of your customers. It is one of the very many advantages of owning a business website. If you are not having one at this stage, you are missing out on very key benefits that could spur your business’ success.
If you’re already implementing the smart internet marketing approach in business, creating your customer profile is as easy as looking through your contacts database to uncover trends about how certain leads or customers find and consume your content.
When creating forms to use on your website, use form fields that capture important personal information. For example, if all of your personas vary based on company size, ask each lead for information about company size on your forms.