We believe a good customer profile should cover the 4 F’s:
Functional information – Start with your basic data points. For B2C customers this includes your standard demographics, such as age, income, location and marital status. For B2B customers this may include the type and size of the company, location and areas of focus.
Formative influences – Consider all the spheres of influence at play. Who or what shapes the customer’s decision-making? This may include both direct contact with your brand (touchpoints you control, like your website and advertising) as well as indirect contact (third-party touchpoints you don’t control, like online reviews and competitor messaging).
It can also be helpful to think about other brands the customer may identify with outside of your industry. What do those relationships say about the customer’s identity and priorities? And how do they carry over into the customer’s decision-making in other areas?
Feelings – Where does emotion come into play in the decision process? At what points along the way does your customer feel most excited and connected? When do they feel anxious or uncertain, and what can you do to pave the path to confidence? (We’ll talk about this more in part 3 of this series.)
Flexibility – A recent article in Chief Content Officer magazine points out, “Traditional fixed personas often make the assumption that we can know everything about our audience up front.” But we don’t—and they’re changing all the time.
Be wary of old assumptions and stay open to new information. Profiles shouldn’t be etched in stone, but rather ever-evolving sketches, informed by an ongoing feedback loop with real customers.
If all this sounds overwhelming, here’s some good news. A lot of the information you’re looking for is free and widely available.