Character Customers don’t have to be real. Instead, they should represent the target market’s lifestyle, needs and wants, including thoughts about and perceptions of sales messages. Using actual, existing customers will work, but can also prove more difficult because you may not have all the information needed to build a complete profile. Here are additional ideas for Character Customer Profiles models:
- Ideal customers;
- Repeat buyers;
- People you look to for insight;
- Those who might overlook your product at first glance;
- Individuals who will love what you sell;
- Others who have a passion for products like yours; and
- Check out Clair, Red Direction Character Customer #9, for a complete example. Use her as a template!
Creating an array of personas helps to generate a complete understanding of how others perceive and use your product. Knowing how each distinct profile thinks also provides opportunities with which to bridge known (and unknown) gaps in provided services and consumer experiences. Use a group of Character Customers as a research and planning tool: if one concept doesn’t serve the existing audience, you are better equipped to conduct more research or move on to other ideas.
Character Customer Profile Research
Start by compiling key attributes about your Character Customers, such as basic demographics (i.e. age, gender and location). Then investigate sociographics to collect additional background information, including: where they spend both work and leisure time; what hobbies they pursue; what websites they frequent; how they use technology; how tech-savvy they (believe they) are; and their main goal in using your products or services.
Care about Customers
Customer perceptions will make or break relationships. Even large companies (and more importantly) major social media platforms are striving to understand client sensitivities, as illustrated in this HBR Blog Network article by Richard Ting: “The Customer Profile: Your Brand’s Secret Weapon.”
Technology facilitates deeper customer connections. For example, you’ll have a better – and, if you want, instantaneous – awareness of when people are negative or positive in discussions about (or directly to) you. In turn, you can build an affinity with them on a personal level. These simple acts (reading, listening and responding) not only strengthen patrons’ relationship with your business, but also enable you to more easily find the influencers within each of your Character Customer Profile groups.
Social platforms are one way of linking with potential customers to figure out who they are and how they think – with much less effort than ever before. Therefore, understanding target market segments will help to create connections resulting in sales activities. For a great read on this topic, check out this Bundle Post blog: “Social Media is NOT About Engagement.”
Defining influencers and the types of conversations that lead to sales activities will further refine how you approach Internet marketing. Using the gathered data creates opportunities to find similar customers in every component of your online marketing mix.
The key is to assemble profiles with enough information to provide comprehensive yet nuanced feedback which, in turn, will help you define – and make effective use of – reliable metrics.