It is never a good idea to use the same sales tactic for going after different customers. People don’t respond the same way to advertising, and a good deal on something to one person may not seem that way to another. That is why marketers utilize multiple tactics based on different ‘customer profiles’ - hypothetical personas created to highlight the unique characteristics of customers and break apart various market segments. Often, for ease of communication, they will give these theoretical people: ‘Henry’ could earn an average income, watch sports, and be in his early thirties for example while ‘Molly’ lives in a dual-income household, has adult children, and is approaching retirement age. (Naming customer profiles makes it easy to know which ones are being talked about during sales meetings.)
Customer profiles can be defined qualitatively (using words) or quantitatively (using numbers). A good example of a qualitative customer profile factor is whether they are a homeowner or a professional. Examples of quantitative customer profile factors are age, income, number of people living in their household, and number of past touchpoints. Qualitative factors are better to give to your advertising department to help inspire creative ideas, but quantitative factors are more useful for conducting in-depth analysis since you can input them into marketing software. Part of your overall marketing/sales strategy should be to constantly identify and re-identify which tactics work best for going after specific customer profiles.
Without further ado, here are the top 5 most important factors to include in your customer profiles:
Age is the number one factor to include when you are making customer profiles because it highly correlates with many other factors. In other words, people who are the same age tend to have much in common – many in their late twenties start careers and families, for instance, OR many in their fifties have disposable income. Similarly, the ‘age’ of corporate customers can tell you a couple things about how established they are, when they are likely to grow, and how loyal they potentially are to their current suppliers. Finding prospective customers’ ages can easily be done by cross-referencing publicly available census databases. Your most valuable customers may fall on a wide age range – some younger customers may remain loyal for years, while older customers spend more on average. However, for targeted marketing efforts it is essential to determine what age range you intend to go after with each campaign since different advertising strategies work for different age groups.
Occupation is another factor which can reveal a lot about your customers. It usually correlates well with age, income, marital status, and other characterisitics. Since word-of-mouth can spread the quickest at people’s place of work (they are usually who they spend the most time with, after all) it can help to tailor advertisements towards people with certain occupations. Instead of a broad determination, such as a customer working in ‘finance,’ you should be more specific: ‘Nathan’ works in healthcare at a management level or ‘Teresa’ works the day-shift in construction. Customers’ job positions can be gleaned by looking at social media and corporate directories.
3. Geographic Location
If you sell your products through independent retailers, before you spend money trying to convert people into new customers you should first make sure they are conveniently close to one of your dealers. They might not view your value proposition as being worth having to travel a far distance. Furthermore, you should think about where potential customers live when making customer profiles because a lot can be told about people by knowing where they live. Urban dwellers usually have different interests than people who live in rural areas, for instance, so the type of product and style of advertising should differ. You can gather location data about your customers by tying promotions to their home addresses.
4. Spending Habits
Depending on the pricing strategy you use you should specify in your customer profiles what spending habits your target customers have. The reason is people will have different ideas regarding your products’ value – even people who earn the same income. For example, some customers may agree to pay extra simply because they believe that a product is superior when its price is higher. Using an integrated customer information and marketing analytics platform, you can inspect the spending habits of your current customers to predict the spending habits of future customers. Also, depending on the business software platform you use you can conduct research that’s even granular as knowing which high value customers have bought products of multiple different types vs. customers who have just bought one product in bulk.
5. Past Interactions
In a CRM you can log past interactions or ‘touchpoints’ you have had with existing customers. Since it is one of the most important factors to include in customer profiles, it is essential to have a cost-effective way to identify target customers by their past interactions with your organization. With this information readily available you can more easily cross-sell (get customers to buy products other than the ones they have already bought) and upsell (get customers to buy better versions of the products they have already bought). Furthermore, you can avoid wasting time and money by lumping customers you have already converted in with customers you wish to convert.