Customer Profiling Grid Set of Questions to Closely Identify Characteristics and Behaviors of Clients

 In Benefit Venture Blog, Optimizing, Tools

Customer Profiling: How do you work out who your customers are? Are the important defining characteristics geography, lifestyle, demographics–or customer profilingwhat?

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 customer profiling 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.

Too often we make assumptions about who are customers are. We need to test out those assumptions. When I worked in national economic development in the UK many years ago, we produced a great deal of research and recommendations, both at the national and sectoral levels. We had thought that all we needed to do was to publish the material and action by companies would follow. How wrong could we have been? We needed to identify the ‘movers and shakers’ among employers’ federations, trade unions, trade associations and other places where employers made connections. We needed to know where the key decision makers were and what influenced them in the strategic decision making process. In short we needed to profile our ‘customers’.

The Venture Founders 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?

What is done with your product? Is it is a component of their end product? Is it part of their production input? Is it simply for resale with a markup? Is your brand important to them?
Do you get feedback? Is there and on-going relationship? Will they buy again? Do you know if they are satisfied?


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.

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