If there’s one thing the coronavirus pandemic has taught the business world, it’s that there are actually very few things a business needs to operate. Many would have previously said that a business needs an office, for example, and that has been proven untrue. Ultimately, a business only needs two things to be viable – a service to provide, and customers to whom they provide that service. As one of the fundamentals of business, very few activities in marketing are as important as customer profiling.
At AsOne, nearly two decades of experience across a multitude of industries and sectors, we believe there are 4 pillars of customer profiling – and here they are.
Intended & Actual Use
How and why do your customers use your products? Do all your customers use your products in the same way? It’s unlikely that they do, even if your product fills a particular need. For example, if you ran a company that produced stairlifts, then whilst some of your customers will be users of the products, but many will also be people who are looking on behalf of a user. These two distinct users will relate to your products differently and have different priorities. By effectively customer profiling, you can then identify the best ways to reach all of your customers, and which brand messages to present to them.
By understanding how your products and services are used will allow you to present more relevant, persuasive information and allow your business to shadow your customers more effectively, presenting them with a more whole solution.
Customer profiling doesn’t always mean understanding the people that currently buy your product, but also markets and demographics that you want to reach. The kind of customers that you have can impact how your brand is seen and what messages other people or organisations attribute to you. Does this image fit with your brand mission?
One of the starkest examples of a brand whose customer profiling allowed them to enhance their brand image is Stella Artois. A generation ago, there was a negative stereotype associated with people who liked to drink Stella Artois – the business recognised that this was hindering any marketing activity they were doing.
By profiling the customer they wanted to reach, they were able to identify subtle changes to their product and service offering – they changed the shape of their glasses and emphasised the quality associated with French beer in their branding – with which they could enhance their brand.
When you build a customer profile, you should be able to point to a number of characteristics which will shape your marketing messages. These should be a mix of personal characteristics, such as age or gender, and circumstances, such as geographies, budgets and interests, with a view to using these demographic identities to shape marketing messages, and digital marketing allows us to place only relevant messages in front of each customer profile. Customer profiling not only allows us to form marketing strategies to each demographic, but also to identify whether there are more valuable customers, and prioritise our efforts.
Feedback & Survey
The most important part of customer profiling is the fact that it is a continuous process. People change, and their needs change too. To make your business the most effective it can be, it needs to be responsive to these changes. Whilst customer profiling will help you hugely to predict the flow of a customer’s attitudes, it’s best not to guess, and a huge swathe of customer profiling is about listening. Offering short feedback surveys to mailing lists or in-store, perhaps incentivised, will allow to build real pictures of actual customers, meaning that your profiling is more well-grounded, allowing a far more solid basis for ideation and strategy.
Customer profiling is one of the most fundamental elements of marketing, and without it, strategies cannot remain relevant, persuasive or effective. At AsOne, we’ve been understanding customers in all sectors and markets for nearly 20 years. To tap into our experience, and boost your business today, call us to speak to an expert member of our team.