The project I am currently working on for a client will go much quicker if I follow my own advice and take care of the basics before creating final field facing messaging. I consider writing customer profiles or personas as one of the most important aspects of marketing fundamentals.
Once you have identified all the influencers in your buying decision the next step should be writing the personas. Without the personas you can’t develop a segmentation or targeting strategy. Without segmentation and targeting you can’t really develop positioning statements or value propositions. This is why the customer profile is a basic building block. Combined with your environmental scan you will have the fundamental inputs to developing the rest of the S-T-P marketing fundamentals.
Customer Profile Defined
A customer profile is a one-page document that describes the psychosocial aspects of your targeted customer group. Specifically, it will include the following elements: demographics, psychographics, behaviors, media preferences, influencers, preferences and environmental/organizational constraints.
Are they anything like demographics? Sort of! Demographics explain “who” your buyer is, while psychographics explain “why” they buy. Demographic information includes gender, age, income, and marital status – the dry facts. Psychographic information might be their habits, hobbies, spending habits and values.
You can only effectively reach your target audience when you understand both their demographics and psychographics. The combination of both sets of data starts to form your buyer persona – a detailed picture of the people you work with now, and would like to work with in the future.
Why are these profiles so important?
In a crowded field you must constantly look for leverage, something that will give you a leg up on the competition. Understanding your customers at a deeper level than competition will give you that leverage. It might lead you to align your product with a select group of customers. It might cause you to use colors and language that are more appealing. It might mean that you hirer different types of salespeople. Even if you can’t spend the market research money to do this exercise in a systematic method, it is worth doing! Treat the first draft as a hypothesis! Come back to that draft after every significant customer interaction to see if you have confirmed or rejected an aspect of your profile.
Here are a few simple steps in creating a good profile
- Describe your customer
- Language preferences
- Locate your customers
- Where do they hang out?
- What do they read?
- What do they watch?
- How do they learn?
- How do they communicate?
- Who do they admire?
- Understand their buying practices
- Where do they begin their research?
- How do they receive the information they use in device selection?
- What is their problem?
- What benefits will you provide if you solve their problem?
- Understand your current customers
- Why did they original buy from you?
- Why do they continue to buy?
- Why didn’t they buy from you?
- Write your first draft of the persona/profile
- Write one per influencer.
- Use names to give them life.
- Look at the intersections for common elements.
Test, Test, Test your beliefs
You must find a way to validate your personas. Market research is the obvious choice, unless you don’t have the cash to pay for it. Then you have to use time and touches.
There is no such thing as an average customer! It is ok if you have to breakdown the persona into subgroups. I call these Archetypes. Your leverage will be greater if you find multi-modal conditions. Use of the mean/average is something that will lead you to being an average marketer.
“Experience is what you get, right after you need it most.”
Make it a great day,
Tim Walker is the Principal consultant for The Experia Group. A small consulting firm that specializes in providing experience and expertise during critical device commercialization phases to increase the probability of success. www.theexperiagroup.com.
© 2015 The Experia Group, LLC