Customer profiling has been a tool in the marketing toolkit for many years

However, the level of data, the sophistication of online analytics, and proliferating channels available mean that it is possible for a business to understand its audience and segment its customers like never before.

Previous digital tactics included the ‘spray and pray’ approach where messages are sent out en-mass, untargeted and non-personalised.

In the modern environment marketers have to be more refined. Modern marketing is all about providing as good a customer experience as possible. This means brands need to think about what’s right for their customers and
to do this they need to know who they are, what they like and where they are.

The customer profile in a modern world

Today’s consumers are demanding and discerning. They produce more data than ever before but at the same time demand a better level of service. They expect relevancy of messaging and a good customer experience.

As marketers we need to connect this data to consumers and group those consumers effectively – using common traits, characteristics and behaviours.

Grouping customers into segments enables brands to more effectively focus tailored marketing communications to specific types of customers, across channels.

Customer profiling and the creation of these audiences via segmentation enables brands to create campaigns tailored to each group. These can be messaging a brand’s most valuable customers, attempting to attract customers similar to those best customers or creating bespoke campaigns for segments that might require different messages.

The six elements of a customer profile

These elements are not necessarily a chronological journey – many brands will be partway down the process already. Regardless of where you start it is important to ensure you cater for every element.

  1. Start with your data. Consolidate and add KPIs such as revenue per customer, email responsiveness, product mix and purchase channel. Remove duplications and create Single Customer Views.
  2. Enhance and enrich first party data using third party data. This is an optional step but it is advisable that you ensure your data is sufficient, thorough and strong enough before proceeding to the next step.
  3. Segment your customer groups so you can target your best customers or the customers you feel represent the greatest opportunity.
  4. Create a rich picture of these customers on and offline (and your competitors’ customers) so you can target them and ensure your campaign messaging, channels, locations and times of day, are relevant.
  5. Deploy your targeted cross-channel campaigns to the selected customer segments.
  6. Measure the effectiveness of your campaigns over time by each customer group. Keep track of changes in your competitors’ customers, spatial trends concerning where your best customers are and where they interact with you

The art of customer profiling

In the modern world a brand’s customers are its greatest asset and its greatest challenge.

Improving their experience and the relevancy of the messaging – whether that’s email, social, direct mail or digital advertising – is the optimum way to increase marketing efficiency and effectiveness.

Knowing who your customers are is crucial. Knowing who they are, what they do and where they do it enables a brand to better define its audience and more effectively engage with them. The development of sophisticated online analytical software means that understanding who’s doing what online and where is easier than ever before.

Profiling consumers allows a brand to define a clear set of messages and imagery for specific customers to improve their customer experience and boost marketing efficiency and effectiveness.

The findings of a customer profiling exercise should be embedded within every department across the business. In marketing, knowing your audience helps companies interact with existing customers and find new ones. However, insights from a customer profiling exercise will benefit customer service and product development.

Experian Marketing Services is a leading global provider of consumer insights, targeting, data quality and cross-channel marketing. We help organisations intelligently interact with today’s empowered and hyper-connected consumers. By helping marketers identify their best customers, find more of them, and then coordinate seamless and intelligent interactions across the most appropriate channels, Experian Marketing Services’ clients can deepen customer loyalty, strengthen brand advocacy and maximise profits.