How to create a customer profile — with examples

Woman learns how to create a customer profile on her laptop

Whether you work at a B2B or B2C organization, it’s never been more important for managers, marketers, and sales teams to understand their customers’ needs. Customer pain points drive their motivations for everything from purchasing decisions to loyalty.

The challenge is that many marketing and sales teams struggle to connect more deeply with their customers. If you want a better understanding of your customers, customer profiling is a must.

But creating a customer profile may seem daunting, especially if you don’t know where to start. This post will walk you through each step of creating a customer profile — along with examples — so that you’ll not only understand your customers but meet them exactly where they are.

This post will discuss:

What is a customer profile?

A customer profile is a file that contains all of the traits and behaviors of your ideal customers. The purpose of a customer profile is to help you better understand your target audience’s deepest needs and personalize your approach accordingly. Customer profiles usually contain information about a customer’s:

To build a customer profile, you need to do customer profiling, where you analyze your general audience to find contacts who share similar data points. The goal is to create a single profile of your ideal customers based on shared attributes.

With a profile in hand, it’s much easier for marketing and sales to tailor their content, communication channels, and calls to action to appeal to the best audience for your solutions. This personalization leads to a better customer experience and, eventually, more sales.

While a customer profile sounds synonymous with a buyer persona, these are actually two different tools. A customer profile is more data-oriented and focuses more on the type of business contacts you should target, which makes it a great fit for account-based marketing. With a customer profile, you have a collection of factual data points you can use to qualify leads more quickly.

Buyer personas, on the other hand, are fictional representations of your buyers that lean more heavily into qualitative data. It isn’t unusual for businesses to have multiple personas based on the same customer profile. Think about it this way — the customer profile is the overarching strategy of the type of business you want to target, and the personas are the different types of people you plan to reach out to at this business.

The easiest way to build your customer profiles is to analyze your current customer base and segment everyone into unique profiles. This gives you a ready-made source of reliable data on who your most valuable customers truly are.

Benefits of customer profiling

Sample customer profile

You need a lot of data to create accurate, helpful customer profiles. But once you have these profiles in hand, you’ll have a helpful internal tool for optimizing every facet of your sales and marketing workflows. Since many customers feel that positive brand experiences are more

influential than clever advertising, it’s never been more important for your business to deliver on customers’ high expectations.

Customer profiling helps you accomplish this by:

How to create a customer profile in 6 steps

Customer profiling is incredibly useful, but it might feel like a difficult process if you’ve never profiled your audience before. Follow this six-step process to create a clear, helpful customer profile as the foundation of your marketing and sales efforts.

1. Gather customer information

Data is the foundation of any customer profile. It’s no wonder why 84% of customer service leaders believe customer data and analytics are very important. To start building customer profiles, gather and analyze your available customer data.

It can be difficult to process all of this information manually, especially if you have a lot of customers. Fortunately, the right software will help you gather, aggregate, and analyze data for building these customer profiles. Solutions like Adobe Experience Platform come with a CRM to store this essential customer data, as well as guide you through a structured process for building customer profiles.

2. Identify customer demographics

Once you’ve started logging customer data within a CRM, it’s time to identify helpful customer demographics that you can use to build customer profiles. These data points will help you parse through your customer data more efficiently:

customer demographic examples

3. Use a customer journey map

Now that you have basic information about your target audience, it’s time to document the exact steps your leads take to become customers. To do that, you’ll create a customer journey map, which is a visual representation of the most common touchpoints leads have with your company before converting.

Customer journey maps show your customers’ journey starting with their first marketing encounter, to the purchase process, customer service process, and becoming a repeat customer. Mapping out the customer journey will give you a deeper understanding of your audience, which you can use to create a more effective profile.

4. Look at customer feedback

Quantitative data is useful, but it’s also helpful to hear directly from your customers. Gathering customer feedback gives you qualitative information on your customers’ expectations, pain points, and motivations. This feedback helps you fine-tune your marketing messaging, product features, and customer service to meet your target audience’s exact expectations.

There are several ways to gather customer feedback. If you don’t currently have a lot of customer data in your CRM, observe your competition. This is an indirect source of feedback, but you can check your competitors’ social channels and review sites to see how customers interact with them. Pay close attention to any complaints.

You can also find customer feedback by reading your own reviews. What are your customers already telling you? Look for common themes in your reviews to spot shared motivations, challenges, and behaviors.

Finally, you can find customer feedback by conducting surveys and interviews. Based on what you already know about your customers, formulate questions to fill in any gaps in your understanding. Encourage survey responses by sending digital surveys via email. It’s a good idea to keep these surveys short and to the point. If you want more detailed information,

compensate a handful of customers for brief virtual interviews. This requires more effort, but you’ll get a much more complete picture of your customers by speaking to them one-on-one.

5. Create customer profiles

Now that you have a better idea of who your customers are, it’s time to create your customer profiles.

Every customer profile should include at least these data points:

Once you’ve created your customer profile, share it with your marketing, sales, and customer service teams. They can use the profile as a helpful tool to optimize everything from campaign messaging to timing.



94% of customers say positive experiences make them more likely to make future purchases

6. Update customer profiles regularly

It takes a lot of research and hard work to create accurate customer profiles. However, creating a profile and executing it are two very different things. Once you build a profile, use it on a trial basis first. This gives you a chance to make tweaks on a smaller scale and strengthen the quality of the profile before rolling it out across the entire business.

While you’ll likely get a lot of mileage out of this profile, it’s important to remember that it isn’t static. Your customers, business, industry, and services will change over time, which is why it’s important to regularly update customer profiles. Regular updates help your company stay relevant and focused on the right audience.

Instead of allowing these profiles to grow stale over time, decide on a time when your team will review these customer profiles. This might be annually, twice a year, or quarterly. Put these dates on the calendar now so your team remembers to refresh these profiles as often as necessary.

Examples of customer profiles

There’s no one right way to create a customer profile. You’re free to create customer profiles in whatever format works best for your team, but if you need inspiration, check out these examples of customer profiles.

Basic information

This is the simplest type of customer profile. It includes fundamental information like demographics and pain points. This is ideal if you have a relatively simple business model, or if you need to quickly generate a customer profile. However, it doesn’t go beyond surface-level data points, so you won’t have as much insight into your customers’ attitudes and feelings.

Segmentation

With segmented customer profiles, you acknowledge the multiple types of customers your business works with. Instead of using the same marketing strategy for all of your customers, you create separate profiles for each segment. To make this customer profile more valuable to your team, design it as a matrix that lists each segment side by side. Describe their needs and pain points to make it easier for your team to spot the differences between each segment.

Buyer personas

Buyer personas are a type of customer profile that helps your team get into the customers’ mindsets. This fictitious representation of a customer contains more qualitative information about your customers’ fears, attitudes, and beliefs alongside their demographic data.

Sales-focused ideal customer profile (ICP)

A customer profile is an internal tool that helps your team make more targeted, relevant decisions. Use your customer information to build an ideal customer profile for your sales team. Format this as a rubric with a points-based system. When your sales team is on a call with a customer, they can tally up the points to determine how good of a fit a customer truly is for your business.

Getting started with creating customer profiles

Customer profiles help marketing, sales, and customer service teams better understand the audiences they serve. While these customer profiles may change over time, they help businesses target the most relevant leads possible, tailor their messaging to these leads, and increase revenue.

If you need more hands-on help with managing your customer data, profiles, and processes in one place, try Adobe Experience Platform. As the foundation for Adobe Experience Cloud products and services, Experience Platform is an open system that stitches together customer data from every interaction through every channel in real time. The result is true, comprehensive customer profiles that drive relevant experiences for every customer.

Watch the Experience Platform overview video or request a demo now.