Customer Profiling Grid

Searching for a Niche Group - Magnifying GlassHow do you work out who your customers are? Are the important defining characteristics geography, lifestyle, demographics–or what?

Take the time to answer your own questions. They may seem superfluous, but you will find that going through them in an orderly fashion will surprise and help you.

Even better would be to do the exercise with colleagues or friends. Use a flip chart, a big sheet of paper or a table or mind map on a computer. Keep it by you so that you can revise it as your business progresses.

The Startup Owl’s Customer Profiling Grid

Who are they? For targeting your customers, have you refined the answer precisely enough to define your ‘niche’? The narrower, the better, providing that the group is large enough for your marketing.
What are their needs/wants? What needs, wants, likes or cravings do they have? Are they missing something? What is the nest ‘must have’ in your field? How can they know about something new?
Where are they? “All over the world” is too wide an answer. Be very specific. Does their location mean that access to buy is limited? What is the language of the target audience and what esoteric jargon do they use?
What is their age? How old are they? Will age matter, or are there other more important determinants? Do they buy for themselves, or do others do it for them and if so, how? Do you know the age profiles of your market segment?
From whom do they buy? When you have defined suppliers, ask–is there another way more effective way to deliver the product? Can you go direct, instead or in addition? Think about the channels they prefer to use.
How often do they purchase? Is there a regular or predictable repeat sales pattern? Under what circumstance would the pattern of purchase change? What makes them come back, or how could they be encouraged?
How do they buy? Do they shop alone or as a family? Is the buyer a single decision-maker, or are there specialist recommenders and senior authorizers–a committee, perhaps, or maybe a set of criteria established by the organization?
Why do they buy? Is it price? Convenience? Freshness? Benefits they get? How do the declared reasons define the clients? What are the buying ‘hooks’? Are there reasons open to change?

When you have worked through the grid, adapting it to suit your particular circumstances, try hard to put yourself in their shoes and see how your answers might change. Better still, go out amongst those who you have already targeted and get their ‘take’ on the questions. You may be surprised by their answers.

Market segmentation is a tough call, but the better able you are to define your target, the more precise can be your efforts to reach them. The scatter gun approach is seldom effective.