Predictive Marketing Blog

Informative Customer Profile in Minutes

Having a strong understanding of who your customers are (customer profiling) is the central element in any marketing effort. Indeed regardless of whether marketers focus on more strategic activities like company positioning or defining target markets, or whether there are looking at more tactical approaches like marketing campaign design and execution, the first thing any marketer needs to understand is who their customers are.

To obtain a customer profile, marketers have three traditional options:

1. Create a segmentation of their existing customer base using internal data
2. Conduct a market research survey
3. Append 3rd party data to their customer file as the base for profiling


Segmentation was historically the cheaper and faster option. Large companies tend to have the resources to run analysis internally, relying on their data infrastructure and the availability of a data scientist team. This team would take typically 1 to 6 weeks to deliver their findings.

The main drawback of this customer profiling method is that the entire analysis is centered on your existing customers only. I am guessing that what comes to mind for several of you is: isn’t it the purpose of a customer profile to be centered on your customers? I would argue that in fact the only way to have a good understanding of who your customer is, is by comparing them with non-customers: in other words, what differentiates your customers from the general population, what makes their profile special? It is for this very reason that market research surveys and using 3rd party data for customer profiling became more widely spread options.

Market research

Market research analysis is the most expensive and time consuming technique to discover your customer profile. Rather than focusing on the obvious advantage of this technique that has long been debated by marketers, I would emphasize the fact that it remains a qualitative technique; rather than being based on hard evidence, research relies on customer’s opinions and what information they report rather than on the analysis of their actual behavior.

Using third party data

The third approach tends to address the major drawbacks of segmentation and market research surveys, indeed by using 3rd party data you can analyze both customers as well as non-customers to build your customer profile. Yet, the obvious drawback of this approach is that it can be a relatively long process and therefore limits it applicability:

1. Small and medium sized companies cannot put such processes in place as they do not have internal resources and outsourcing might be cost prohibitive.

2. Companies typically have more than one product/offer and would like to have more than one customer profile analysis.

And now there’s good news to help address this problem for marketers. By leveraging our predictive marketing cloud we are able to quickly generate a complete customer profile with the following characteristics:

1. A basic customer profile for marketers to gain an initial high level understanding of their customers’ demographics: age, marital status, income, and education level,

2. An advanced customer profile which enables marketers to identify the characteristics that sets apart your customers from the rest of the population.

By removing the largest hurdles in the development of customer profiles using 3rd party data (time & data science expertise) small and medium-sized business as well as large companies are in a position to access a more analytic approach and leverage their customer profile to make more informed marketing decisions.

I invite you to try it yourself at to gain insights on your customers at no cost.