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Timothy A. Zercher

Many businesses are not aware that taking the time to create a customer profile (also known as a buyer persona) will greatly benefit their business model, sales and strategy. 

Just what is a customer profile, and why does it matter so much? A  customer profile  is a fictional character that represents your target audience. This helps when marketing your product or service, it helps to determine the benefits your audience is seeking, as well as what makes them most likely to interact with your marketing strategies. We’re going to look at three steps to shape and implement a basic  customer profile.

First, you need to research. You will need to answer a lot of broad and specific questions about your target audience, such as demographic questions (age, income, education, race, sex), how do they shop, where do they live, and what media they consume. What are current trends within your industry? Why are your competitors succeeding... or not? Who is your audience, what are their pain points, and how can you help them solve these problems? Be sure to research both online and in-person interactions with your target audience. 

After conducting your research, you will build your basic customer profile.You’ll be testing some of your earlier answers first on a broader audience, and then a more narrowed audience. Use social media or paid ads to test, and see if your customer profile holds up — do the people you expected respond to your social posts or advertising? Who walks away? Start to develop the daily life of your ideal customer into the profile. What routines do they have and when are they active on social media? Do they work in the same geographic location as they live? The goal here is to further narrow your audience so that you are never wasting your marketing budget on customers that don’t fit your product or service.

Finally, you will implement your customer profile into your marketing strategy. Develop your advertising strategy, website and social media presence to completely fit your ideal customer. If your branding doesn’t match your new profile, consider updating it to align with branding to draw your ideal customer. The customer profile you’ve created may need to be updated from time to time along with your marketing strategy, as your ideal customer shifts and evolves. 

When you begin to research and create your first  customer profile, you will soon realize we’ve barely scratched the surface of what this profile can do for your business. We always suggest using a marketing consultant to help you solidify your target audience and ideal customer. Don’t wait — find an expert to help steer you in the right direction!

Timothy A. Zercher is president and CEO of Z3 Digital. He can be reached at