Part of establishing your brand identity is identifying your ideal customer and creating a customer profile for them. This is essential because if you don’t market to the right people, you will waste a lot of precious time, money, and energy on people who aren’t right for your brand.
Your Ideal Customer Profile Could Change—Proceed with Caution!
Imagine you are a nutritional supplement company that has historically marketed to men in their 50s, and you decide to release a new line of supplements for women over 45. Not only is your customer profile going to change, but you will also need to carefully rebrand so that you don’t alienate your base while you bring on new customers. This means considering how you will keep past promises you have made as a brand while taking on a new role in the market.
How Do You Discover Your Ideal Customer’s Profile?
Base your ideal customer profile on solid, current research. For example, if you are an established company, you can look at your existing sales data.
If you are a new company or are marketing to a new type of customer, such as in our supplement company example, you will want to use market research studies and surveys. It can often be most effective to hire an outside consultant to do this research.
What Information Do You Need for Their Profile?
While you want a thorough profile of your ideal customer, don’t get bogged down in the weeds of details that don’t matter to your marketing campaign. It doesn’t matter what their kid’s names are, for example. What matters is what their needs are and how you can meet them. If you are doing the research yourself, here are some things you will want to find out.
- Name- Give them a name to make them more human
- Job Title and Industry
- Income Level
- Ways they connect with businesses like yours. What social medial platforms do they use? Do they prefer mobile or computer?
- Pain points. What matters the most to them right now? What keeps them awake at night worrying?
- How will your product/service help solve their problems?
- Any questions specific to your business; For example, if you are a flavored water company, you will want to ask what flavors they currently drink and what flavors they would like to try. Then give them some unconventional options that you are thinking of about trying to market. Finally, ask why they choose flavored water over other beverages. Your sales and marketing department will be able to determine any other specific question that would be helpful in their campaign.
Do the Research!
There are so many ways that you can get the information you need. Use online surveys, direct or mass email with or without an incentive to participate in the research. You can also do post-purchase surveys of your current customers.
Compile the Research
As a team, compile the data. Once you input all the responses onto a spreadsheet, you will start to see some patterns. List more open-ended questions, such as those dealing with pain points, separately to gain new ideas and insights that you may not have had before.
Now, look at the data and create 3-5 ideal customer profiles. For each profile, you will answer the questions you asked during your research as if you are the person whose profile you are creating.
Here is a super simplified, non-scientific example. Imagine you are marketing a long-term memory-care facility for people with dementia. Even though your clients will be the facility’s residents, your customer profile needs to be the primary decision-maker. Naturally, that will be the adult children or spouse of the client.
You can choose to name your ideal customer anything you want, which will help them feel more like real people to you. Of course, it helps to know the genders before you choose names.
For example, if 2/3 of respondents were women. You might create one male profile and two female profiles. So, let’s call our profiles David, Andrea, and Jessica. You can give them last names, too, but it’s not necessary.
The respondents’ ages were between 28 and 79. Men tended to be older than women. So
- David is 76. His wife has severe dementia. As a result, he is no longer able to care for her himself at home.
- Andrea is 48. Her dad has developed dementia and lives alone in another state.
- Jessica is 31. Her mom has early-onset dementia. Jessica’s dad cared for her until he contracted Covid 19 and unexpectedly died from its complications. Now Jessica is caring for her mother.
Job title and Income Level
Of the respondents, 1/3 were business owners or professionals in high-income fields. 1/3 were professionals making $60-75,000/year. And 1/3 were retired.
- David has an annual income of $142,000 from his retirement accounts. He was a petroleum engineer.
- Andrea makes $65,000 a year as a public relations specialist.
- Jessica makes $20,000 a year providing part-time daycare services out of her home. She will have access to her mother’s social security and her father’s insurance funds to care for her mother.
The obvious pain point for all of these people is the pain of losing their loved one, if not physically, emotionally, and mentally, as their memories fade. But there are other issues, too, including:
- The ability to ensure access to medical care and medications on the proper schedule
- Ensuring no one takes advantage of their loved one
- The guilt associated with placing a loved one in long-term care
Think about what it is that your customers worry about most.
How will your product/service help solve your customers’ problems?
Your brand needs to speak to these pain points and reassure them that you can help them with these issues.
Ways customers connect with businesses like yours
Do they use social media, email, direct mail, or do they prefer to call? Do you need to plan in-person events that you should promote on your website?
Are there other service providers that you could connect with to market cooperatively? For example, as a long-term-care provider, would a local medical equipment supply store be willing to display your brochure in exchange for a link on your website. Think creatively!
Now, Use It!
Use the information you’ve gathered and compiled, or it will have been a waste of time and resources for you and your company. Once you have your ideal customer profiles created, you know who you are speaking to every time you write a piece of marketing copy, a web page, or anything else that you hope will reach them.
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