Definition and How to Create a Customer Profile

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Create customer profiles based on demographics, income, and other things.

Every business should invest time and resources in creating a Consumer Profile to find the ideal customer. This profile describes consumers by different categories so that they can be grouped for marketing and advertising purposes. By targeting ads to specific market segments, companies and marketers can find more success selling certain products and increase profits. Consumer Profile allows you to more easily define and describe market segments.

Definition of Consumer Profile

Before marketing products to potential customers/customers, you must determine your target customers/customers based on:

  • Lifestyle
  • Age
  • Place
  • Income
  • Interest
  • Purchase pattern
  • Purchase preference
  • Life stage

A consumer profile is a description of a customer, or set of customers, based on the characteristics they have in common.

Using Market Segmentation to Create a Consumer Profile

No matter how targeted your product is, there will be some variation in your ideal customer. For example:

  • Your customers may be the same age but live in different geographic areas.
  • You offer products at different price points to enable it to reach customers at different income levels.
  • You offer a single product that can appeal to customers with different interests.
  • Some of your customers watch network TV, while others are more likely to see ads on social media.

Creating multiple Consumer Profiles allows you to segment your customers based on these differences. You can then use this market segmentation to create more successful ads with different customer groups.

There are many different properties that can be used to segment customer groups, such as:

  • Demographics: Age, city or region where you live, gender, race, ethnicity, or household composition.
  • Socioeconomic: Income, educational attainment, employment, environment, or association membership.
  • Brand affinity/product use: Product engagement, purchase history, or level of brand loyalty.
  • Psychographics: Lifestyles, life stage, personality, attitudes, opinions, or voting behavior.
  • Generations: Generation-specific cohort groups (cohort groups).
  • Geography: The geographical area where the consumer lives and works.
  • Geodemography: Combines geography and demographics, which can group into identifiable groups.
  • Benefits: What consumers look for when they shop for products and services.

Consumer Profiles are frequently used by market researchers, many of whom develop Consumer Profiles using panels of consumers who have been classified according to their common attributes.

However, any business can and should create a Consumer Profile to maximize more targeted marketing and advertising. You don’t need to work with a market research firm to develop a useful Consumer Profile.

Segmentation System for Creating Consumer Profiles

If you want to use a pre-existing Consumer Profile, there are many options available.

Market research firms often make their Consumer Profile available for discrete market research projects conducted for their market research clients in large corporations. There are several different examples of classification categories that market research firms use.

ABC1 is a general stratification strategy based on an individual’s professional job role, a person designated as the head of the household, or the main contributor of income to the family. The term ABC1 stands for the first three socioeconomic groups in the taxonomy, namely:

A = Senior managerial or higher, administrative, or professional
B = Middle managerial, administrative, or professional
C1 = Supervisory, and junior managerial, administrative, or professional
C2 = Skilled manual workers
D = semi-skilled and unskilled manual workers
E = Everyone who is completely dependent on public support (chronic illness, unemployment, elderly, disabled, and other reasons)

Lifestage and other special groups are mostly categorized according to exclusive consumer research or census based research. Various countries associated certain percentages with each group of life stages. The standard taxonomy for life stage groups is:

  • Pre-Family or No Family: Younger than 45 who are not parents.
  • Family: Any age with at least one child younger than 16 still at home.
  • Third Age: Age 45-64 without children under 16 still at home.
  • Retired: Older than 65 with no children under 16 still at home.

ACORN (A Classification of Residential Neighborhoods) is the geodemographic segmentation used in the United Kingdom. The system uses residential area census data to categorize consumers based on income, education, ethnicity, and other characteristics. Postcodes can then be associated with specific ACORN categories because people who live in neighborhoods tend to share a number of attributes.

MOSAIC is a consumer classification system that includes consumers in 29 countries, including the United States, Australia, East Asia, and Western Europe. It identifies 10 types of residential neighborhoods that can be found in cities around the world and classifies more than 400 million households worldwide.

ESRICommunity Tapestryis a system for classifying households in the United States. It shares 14 LifeModes US environments, including:

  • Prosperous Plantations, Upscale Streets, City Individuals
  • Family Landscapes, GenXurban, Cozy Country Living
  • Ethnic Area, Middle Land, Senior Style
  • Rural Outposts, Midtown Singles, Hometown
  • The Next Wave, Scholars and Patriots, Not Classified

LifeModes is divided into more than 60 market segments such as Top Tier, Enterprising Professionals, Rustbelt Traditions and Urban Villages.

CAMEO is a classification system that divides consumers into segments both within a given country and around the world. CAMEO UK classifies households in the UK, while CAMEO International is a global system that manages customers across borders. CAMEO Global is the largest system for segmenting consumers in the world, covering buyers in 40 countries across Eastern and Western Europe, Americas, Africa and the Asia Pacific region.

PSYTE HDis a Canadian geodemographic system that uses postal codes to classify consumers into more than 50 groups based on lifestyle and environment. It uses the Canadian census as well as third-party data to create a comprehensive map of consumer behavior by environment.

How to Use Consumer Profiles

Once you’ve gathered relevant information about your current and potential customers, creating a Consumer Profile that describes a specific segment allows you to imagine someone who might be interested in your products. It gives you an in-depth understanding of:

  • What will motivate them to find your business.
  • The benefits they are looking for.
  • Where they are most likely to interact with your ad.
  • The message that best suits their needs and wants.

Once you have a clear picture of the types of customers your business should target, you can create a marketing strategy accordingly. Your ideal customer profile will help you determine who, where, and how to reach potential customers who are interested in what your business has to offer.

Also Read: Definition & Examples of Market Research

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