In Marketing Tip# 17, we started talking about three rules for small business advertising. The first rule was to know your audience. In today’s marketing tip we are going to take a deeper look at what it means to know your audience. We do this by creating what is called a customer profile. The importance of a solid customer profile goes far beyond just advertising. It helps us understand how to improve our product, price it correctly, write impactful messaging, and, of course, advertise in the best locations to find our customers.
What is a customer profile?
A customer profile is a snapshot of our perfect customer, the one most likely to need or want what we have to offer. Back in the day, we called this a target market. But a customer profile goes way beyond basic demographics, which used to be the basic measure for a target market. Sure, we may find that geography, income, age, gender, etc. play a role in a customer profile but demographics tell us very little about what actually matters to a customer.
Plus, most products or services span far outside the constraints we try and set using demographically centric target markets. In fact, in my many years as a marketing consultant, I have found that many company’s “target markets” are completely out of sync with their actual paying customers. A customer profile fixes most of these issues by focusing on the wants, needs, concerns, desires, and decision-making processes of our ideal customer. Again, this does not mean we ignore the demographics – they just take second seat.
Building Your Customer Profile
To start building your customer profile, think about who needs or wants your products and why they would make a purchase, along with some reasons they may not purchase. We’ll use a fictional lawn and landscape maintenance firm as an example.
Our customers are busy professionals who enjoy their outdoor space. But they fear being able to find the time to maintain their yard and/or are concerned that the weekly maintenance will take away from other things they enjoy. They want an affordable, hassle-free experience that lets them enjoy a beautiful yard without the burden of the yard work. Their primary decision factor is going to be affordability. Quality work is important as well, but many assume that they could not afford the service, even though they would be happy to pay for it if they could.
Using Your Customer Profile
Based on our profile, there are a few key points that we can use: 1) The look of their yard is important to them. 2) For one reason or another, they would prefer not to do the work themselves. 3) They are willing to pay, but are on a budget.
Based on this information, there are a few actions that we can take. We can create a la carte services along with full service packages to meet the budgets of as many people as possible. For some, they just want their lawn mowed weekly, or maybe even every other week. Others want weed pulling, fertilizer, and fall leaf cleanups. By being flexible, we can cater to a larger crowd. From a messaging standpoint, we can focus on communicating how we can free up their time for what they enjoy and that our services are more affordable than most people think.
We also know that we should focus on advertising to people searching the internet for our services and with mailers targeting middle and upper-middle-class neighborhoods. See? I told you that we would still use demographics. The difference is that by having a customer profile, our messaging, services, and pricing will be more effective. It will be designed to reach people where they are and able to speak to their biggest concerns.
Now that we know how to create a customer profile, don’t miss our next marketing tip where you take an in-depth look at how to create effective messaging.