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How to use consumer profiling to drive growth

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Learn how consumer profiling can help drive more effective marketing, sales and service engagement for your business.


What is consumer profiling?

Did you ever read a fictional book that spoke so profoundly to you as an individual, that you felt like it was written just for you? How about an album that was the soundtrack to a tough period in your life, and now resonates with you on a deeper level? Or your favorite film, which so perfectly captures your unique sense of humor that you feel a personal affinity with those characters?

Now imagine inspiring that same kind of emotional connection in people, but for your brand. Sound challenging? It’s just good consumer profiling.

Put simply, consumer profiling is the tool by which brands can immerse themselves in the minds of their target audience, to create emotive and distinctive customer experiences. It involves gathering data about your ideal customer across a number of meaningful dimensions, so that you can get to know them better. Audience analysis – what do they like, what do they dislike? What values do they hold? What are their typical shopping habits? Where do they gather information?  

For businesses that are looking to build better products and services, the process starts with understanding your target audience’s needs and desires.

Consumer research is an invaluable part of this process, and there are many different ways you can get under the skin of your audience; such as observation, ethnography, qualitative and quantitative research. 

Quantitative research relies on numerical or measurable data to build reliable insight at scale. Consumer surveys are a key use case here and this is where quick turn research tools like Glow are powerful, as the technology does all the research legwork for you – all you need is a basic understanding of consumer profiling, which we’ve outlined in the points below.

There are four key types of consumer profiling

1. Demographic profiling

You could consider this the rudimentary approach to categorising your consumers, as market research that centres around demographic profiling will give you basic information like your target audience’s age, gender, income, marital status, education level and so on. While this information isn’t overly useful on its own, it serves as a great starting point on which you can start to build your understanding of your ideal customer’s wants, needs, motivations and pain points.


2. Geographic profiling

As a marketer, you might be familiar with the term “transcreation”. It refers to the process of adapting a message from one language to another, while still maintaining its intent, style, tone and context. For brands operating in global markets though, it’s not just about language barriers, but cultural barriers as well.

A light-hearted Coca-Cola ad that uses tongue-in-cheek humor to make American audiences laugh may not translate to Asian markets, for example, where people’s sense of humor is different.

Geographic profiling helps you gain an understanding of where your customers are located, and how urban vs. regional living impacts desire for your product, or Eastern vs. Western markets interpret your brand messaging (for example).


3.Psychographic profiling

This is where you get to dig into the more “nitty gritty” details like your ideal customer’s shopping habits, lifestyle choices, hobbies, interests, pain-points and life aspirations. In order to establish an emotional connection between your customers and your brand, you need to appeal to their attitudes and values, and it’s important to note that these evolve over time.

As an example, right now it’s increasingly important to understand sustainability motivations for consumers. Why? Because nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers now say that a brand’s social and environmental performance influences their decision about what brands to buy and where to shop. Neglect social and environmental issues at your own peril. By investing in customer profiling as part of your market research, you can ensure that your brand is making meaningful change in areas that your target audience cares about.


4. Behavioral profiling

How frequently are customers making purchases, and what are they buying alongside your products? Are customers shopping with you in-store or online? Do they engage your brand on social media first, or use your digital loyalty app? How are customers most commonly referred to your brand – through word of mouth, search engines or traditional advertising?

Behavioural profiling unlocks actionable insights to purchasing and engagement patterns that you may have never been aware of otherwise. The better you understand things like what your average customer life cycle is and what their journey looks like with your brand, the better you can predict warning signs of a lapsed customer, which reduces churn and boosts brand loyalty.

Turning insights into action – how to use your consumer profiles

Once you’ve built out your ideal customer profiles, the trick is to activate them effectively. We won’t tell you how to suck eggs, but most businesses activate this profiling data by transforming it into buyer personas that align with key market segments that can be used through the organization. 

Buyer personas are characterizations of your ideal customers based on your research and other data your business has. They can help align different parts of the organization, from marketing to sales to service with the shared goal of creating and delivering compelling and consistent experiences to meet the needs and desires of those personas. 

For example, marketing can build out customer journeys for each persona so that activity aligns with the desires and purchase behavior of each to drive more effective lead generation. 

Sales can use the personas to more efficiently quality prospects and to shorten the sales cycle by building content that effectively addresses key pain points. 

Ready to understand your audience better?

Glow can make the process of identifying your ideal audiences faster, easier and more affordable. Here’s how:

Get going fast with Kits – standardized audience profiling question kits will help you set-up your survey faster and ensure the quality of the questions you are asking.

Manage multiple markets – we source respondents from over 140 countries around the world so if you need to see how your audience differs across geographies, we have you covered. Combine that with our instant language translation capability that supports rapid localisation of surveys and we have your multi-market study needs sorted.

Optimize on-the-fly – see your data live with real-time visualization, so you can optimize your insights as you learn. The data might suggest adding a new respondent group or refining questions to provide more powerful insights. This functionality ensures you maximize the return on your research investment and gather a rich profiling data set.    

Interrogate easily – analyze your data with one click interrogation. Filter the data quickly so you can see variances across sub-groups like demographics, attitudes, behavior or combinations of those variables.

If you don’t know it, Glow it.

Glow has helped a range of brands  including Reckitt, Employment Hero, Atomic 212, Gatorade and Puma refine their audience focus so they can get better returns from their marketing efforts.  

We can help you too; just book an intro with one of our friendly experts to see how.  Or sign-up (in the page footer) to our monthly newsletter for research tips and case studies that’ll help keep you ahead of the pack.