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Thought Leadership & Enablement
April 25, 2024

Engage Customers and Drive Growth With Customer Profiling

Discover how data can be collected and used for customer profiling, which will allow you to define your target audience and create better experiences.

Brittany Gulla
Director of Growth Marketing


  • Customer profiling involves collecting and analyzing customer data so that you can create detailed, fact-based representations of your customers.
  • Customer profiles differ from buyer personas, which feature a blend of facts and fictitious information, and customer segments, which group customers according to common attributes.
  • To begin the customer profile process, you’ll need to map out the goals that you’d like to achieve with your profiles.
  • You’ll also need to choose an analytical approach — psychographic, consumer typology, or consumer characteristics — to creating customer profiles.
  • Flesh out profiles with zero- and first-party data collected from sources like quizzes, surveys, website traffic, reviews, and more.
  • Finally, gather all of your data in CRM software — then use templates to put your customer profiles together.

Want to unlock even greater success for your marketing campaigns? Zero- and first-party data can certainly help with that—but first, you need to figure out the most effective ways to utilize that data. That’s where customer profiling enters the picture. 

You can leverage quizzes, surveys, customer feedback, and more to get valuable insights into your customers. Then, you can use that information to create detailed, data-driven customer profiles designed to help you understand your target market so that you can speak to their needs and increase overall customer satisfaction.

To get started, keep reading to discover what customer profiling is and the specific advantages of this process — and get a comprehensive guide to show you how it’s done.

What Is Customer Profiling?

Customer profiling: man using a phone

Customer profiling is a process that involves gathering, analyzing, and using customer data so that you can create detailed representations of your target audience. That sounds a lot like creating buyer personas or doing customer segmentation, right? Well, these things are all similar, but there are some key differences, which we’ll get into in a minute.

For now, it’s important to understand that customer profiling is a crucial practice that empowers marketers to create overall better experiences for customers. Creating customer profiles allows you to optimize your marketing strategy, which will ultimately help you drive business growth.

Some of the benefits of customer profiling include:

  • Improved customer experiences because you can leverage data to create targeted content and offers
  • Rising conversion rates that stem from your ability to better tailor marketing efforts according to customer profiles
  • Increased efficiency because profiles help everyone from the marketing team to the support and sales teams to better understand the needs of your customers
  • Lowered customer acquisition costs (CAC) since customer profiles allow you to identify and target groups who are more likely to become customers
  • Improved customer churn rates and increased loyalty because a better understanding of your customers not only helps you target the right potential customers but also understand what motivates them to stick with your brand

Customer profiles are usually based on data gathered from surveys, quizzes, buying patterns, demographic research, and feedback gathered from reviews and other sources. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C business, the profiling process is largely the same — except B2B businesses tend to create profiles centered on businesses who would make good customers whereas B2C businesses create consumer-focused profiles.

Customer Profiles vs. Buyer Personas vs. Customer Segmentation

People sometimes use these terms interchangeably, but there are some clear differences between them. Actually, customer profiles can serve as a kind of precursor to both buyer personas and customer segmentation documents. That’s because customer profiles are documents that summarize collected customer data to give you a 360-degree view of your customers. 

It looks most similar to a buyer persona — but the difference between a profile and a persona is that customer profiles are purely data-backed based on the customers you already have. 

Meanwhile, buyer personas are fictionalized documents that describe your ideal customer. Personas may include some data points — and in fact, you can use the data within customer profiles as the base for creating buyer personas. But marketers also make up names, job titles, and other details in order to humanize the buyer persona. The idea is that personas make it easier to envision individuals that you’ll be marketing to, which makes it easier to craft marketing messaging meant for this fictitious person (and the real-life people who are like them). 

Then, you have customer segments. Customer segments group your customers by commonalities like age range, location, product preferences, or purchase history. For example, people aged 18 to 24 from Los Angeles who show a preference for aviator sunglasses could be one segment, while people aged 30 to 36 from Sioux Falls who prefer wayfarer-style sunglasses could be another segment.

Since both customer segments and customer profiles are based on data, you can use profiles to search for relationships in your data. Those relationships will go on to become the foundations for each customer segment. 

In other words, to create customer segments, you’d start by looking at your customer profiles to see who is purchasing aviator-style sunglasses — and that is how you would discover they’re popular among the segment of people aged 18 to 24 from Los Angeles.

How You Can Get Started With Customer Profiling

Co-workers putting their hands up in the air

Let’s move on to what you really want to know: how to create an ideal customer profile. If you’re familiar with the steps to create customer personas or customer segments, then some of this will look familiar to you. Still, be sure to read through for the finer points that will help you unlock the full potential of consumer profiling.

1. Map Out Your Goals

What’s the secret to effective customer profiles? It starts with goals. Before you begin gathering data in droves, consider the objectives that you want to achieve with this process. If you need help defining your goals, be SMART. This is a clever acronym made up of questions designed to help you clearly define goals. The questions are as follows:

  • Specific: What are the specific actions you’ll take, and what you will accomplish in taking them?
  • Measurable: What data will you need to measure progress toward these goals?
  • Achievable: Is this a plausibly achievable goal?
  • Relevant: How does this goal align with the bigger picture?
  • Time-bound: How long will it take to accomplish this goal?

The SMART questions will help you define your goals — but you’re going to need a little more information than that. Specifically, examine your customer journey map and each of the touchpoints that it contains. 

Since the ultimate goal of customer profiling is to create the best customer experience possible, your customer journey map stands as a useful tool that will help you find all of the little pain points that consumers may encounter as they interact with your brand. You can center your goals around resolving these pain points.

2. Choose a Customer Profiling Approach

2 employees working together

Without the right approach, customer profiling is a lot like throwing darts at a dartboard — with a blindfold on. You can take off the blindfold by choosing one of three approaches to help guide you through the data gathering and profiling process. These approaches include the following.

The Psychographic Approach 

Unlike demographic data — which includes concrete details like ages, education levels, or locations — psychographics include psychological attributes like goals, belief systems, and values. Thus, the psychographic approach to customer profiling involves collecting data centered on this type of attribute. 

Research customers’ lifestyles as well as favorite activities and hobbies. Be sure to learn about common opinions, value systems, and even the social classes that your target customers belong to.

The Consumer Typology Approach

This approach is all about customer motivations. You’ll group customers according to four categories: 

  • Loyal customers: These are the people whose customer loyalty is high enough that not only do they make repeat purchases, but they’re also more likely to promote your brand to others.
  • Discount customers: This group cares less about branding and more about deal shopping. They’ll hunt for providers with the best deals, and they’ll often wait to make purchases only when products go on sale or they can get coupons or discount codes.
  • Impulsive customers: These customers see it, want it, then buy it. Brand loyalty or savings aren’t particularly important to them, and they’re often not shopping with a goal in mind. The decision-making process is an emotional one based on what they’re feeling and craving in the moment.
  • Need-based customers: The practical ones of the bunch, needs-based customers only make purchases when they actually need something. They’re the type of customer to have their eyes on the prize when at the grocery store, for example. They ignore sales, the displays meant to motivate impulse purchases, and everything else so that they can get what’s on their list and get out.

The Consumer Characteristics Approach

You can think of this approach almost as kind of a blend of both the psychographic and typology approaches since it shares some similarities to both. The consumer characteristics approach has you ask a basic question about your customers: What traits motivate them to buy?

From there, you’ll gather data to sort customers into categories based on these traits. Among modern customers, the top three customer types include:

  • Customers who are convenience-driven: These customers want the most fuss-free purchasing experience possible. For example, they’re more likely to be customers who buy online — especially if shipping is fast and free—because it’s simpler and less time-consuming than going to a store to find and buy a product.
  • Customers who are connectivity-driven: Connectivity-driven customers want to feel like they’re a part of something. These are your communicators. They love to listen to other people’s opinions on products, they like to feel like they’re part of a community, and if a friend purchases a particular product, the connectivity-driven customer might too, just to build a greater sense of connection over a shared purchase.
  • Customers who are personalization-driven: These customers may have monogrammed towels in their bathrooms or engraved wine glasses in their cupboards. That’s because they value an experience that feels like it was meant for them. Customers with this trait particularly enjoy personalized recommendations and things like style or product match quizzes that offer up tailor-made product suggestions.

3. Determine Your Data Sources

Customer profiling: Indie Lee's skincare routine online quiz

If you followed along above, then you’ve got your goals lined up — and you even know what kinds of data you’ll need to reach those goals. So where are you going to get that data? The next step is to figure out how you want to collect customer profile data, then implement those collection methods. 

Zero- and first-party data will be your best friends here. Zero-party data is the data that you collect directly from the source — like survey answers or contact information gathered from a form — while first-party data is data that you can collect via interactions with your brand. Common sources of first-party data include traffic and browsing data from your website or mobile app, or interactions on social media.

Need ideas for data sources? Try the following:

  • Make your website one of your primary sources of first-party data: This information will shed light on customer locations, the pages they’re visiting the most, buying habits, and more.
  • Keep tabs on social media: Get an understanding of which posts and ads customers prefer based on interactions, and keep an eye on comments and brand mentions too, since these can give you insights into pain points or trends that your customers love.
  • Gather customer feedback often across a variety of communication channels: For example, follow-up emails after a purchase represent the perfect time to ask your current customers a couple of questions about the experience they’ve had and to invite them to leave a detailed response so that you can get actionable insights.
  • Quizzes and surveys are a gold mine of customer data: Whether you’re surveying about interest in a new product or creating personality or style-match quizzes, it’s a great opportunity to ask questions that help you fill in gaps in demographic information, customer needs and preferences, and other crucial bits of info.

In fact, quizzes and surveys are one of the best ways to collect the zero- and first-party data that you need for customer profiling — and that’s because people find them engaging. Quiz enthusiasts everywhere love answering questions, especially when it helps them to learn more about themselves. 

Take the Indie Lee skincare routine quiz as an example. Indie Lee turned to Jebbit to create an experience that engages their customer base, helps them to learn more about their skincare needs, and directs them to the products that best fit their needs. It was a huge hit among customers: 84% of people who interacted with the quiz completed it. 

Even better? Indie Lee is not only engaging their customers and providing helpful product recommendations; they’re also gathering a wealth of information that they can channel into customer profiles. So far, 67% of people who have completed the quiz have submitted lead information, and Indie Lee has collected more than 21,000 zero-party data attributes. 

The brand has taken things a step further, too. They’ve integrated with Klaviyo so that collected data goes directly into Klaviyo. This has added additional functionality that lets Indie Lee truly dive deep into customer profiling and market segmentation so that they can create the personalized experience their customers crave.

4. Collect, Analyze, and Put It All Together in a Customer Profile Template

Every step thus far has been an essential piece of groundwork leading up to the creation of useful customer profiles. This last step will see you putting it all together. There are just a couple of helpful tips that you’ll need to make this process easier:

  • Improve your data collection and analysis efforts by using customer relationship management (CRM) software or similar data-handling tools. Whatever tools you choose, they should integrate with your data sources so that you can easily import and analyze the information.
  • Use a customer profile template to organize your information. You can create your own or find one online, but remember: Customer profiles are often confused with buyer personas. Make sure the template you choose is purely data-driven (unlike a buyer persona template, which will have spaces for you to create fictionalized customer details). 

Let Jebbit Help You Get First-Party Data for Customer Profiling

Customer profiling is a great way to cut through the confusion to get a deeper understanding of who your customers are, what they want and need, and how you can motivate them to make a purchase. Define your goals, choose an approach to profiling that supports those goals, and be sure to gather first-party data from a variety of sources so that you can build the most accurate profiles possible.

On the data collection front, Jebbit is here to help. Our quizzes and surveys will be your go-tos when you need to collect information while engaging your customers. But don’t forget that we can also help you create a variety of other interactive experiences to help you learn more about customers as they learn more about your brand.

Schedule a strategy call today so that our experts can show you around the platform — and show you how Jebbit can support your business goals.

Brittany Gulla
Director of Growth Marketing

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