Creative Ways to Profile Your Ideal Customer in 2011

There are really only two questions that every small business owner needs to answer:

1) Who is my ideal customer?

2) What's important to them?

Once you've answered these -- marketing should not only be easier, I promise it will be more fun and WAY cheaper than you think.

Creative Tips to Profile Your Ideal Customer

  1. Profile a real person. Find a customer you love working with and start your profile there.  Find out what magazines they read, what their hobbies are, the kind of music they like, etc.  It helps to start with a real person and work your way outward toward larger populations.

  2. Create a magazine cover for your ideal customer.  Go and get yourself a sketchbook or poster board.  Then go through magazines that your ideal customers read and pull out pictures, ads, bits of copy that resonate with what you're offering.

  3. Pile of Files: Another of my favorite methods to profile customers is to literally walk over to a file cabinet and pull a customer file.  Look at it and put it on a pile.  Then pull another file and take a look at it.  Would you put it on the same pile as the first or a new pile.  Don't think too much about it - just decide quickly - immediately.  Now go on to the next file and follow the same process.  You'll find that you have intuitively created piles of customers that you feel belong together.  All you have to do is connect the dots as to why they are all together.

  4. Draw your customer's experience. You don't have to be an artist to do a great job of this.  Simply put yourself in your customer's shoes and draw out how they might experience your product.  For a great example, take a look at the web site for one of my favorite books, Back of the Napkin. Draw out what their problems look like and then draw out your solution and the benefits.

I've decided to pull the last step out of the list and describe it separately.  Once you've profiled your customer, you'll be ready to map out what they want, what you offer, the benefit and then ask yourself the most important question -- What if we.... or what else can we....

I've pulled together an "Ideal Customer Worksheet" that you can use to start the profile process for yourself.

You can do this profiling process on your own or you can include your whole team.  The benefit to including your team will be that everyone in your organization will have input into the process and will be on the same page when it comes to creating new product or service offers for your customers.

Give this process a shot and let us know how it worked for you.


  1. I really liked your article - "Creative Ways to Profile Your Ideal Customer in 2011". I wanted to get the Ideal Customer Worksheet but the link didn't work. Can you fix this and then post for others (and/or send the corrected link to my email?)



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