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Define and know your customer

Understand what drives your customers so you can satisfy their needs

On this page

  • Create a customer profile and persona
  • Refine your initial assessment of your customer with market research
  • Tailor your marketing so it speaks to your customer

Small Business Victoria's Workshops can help you develop a marketing action plan or refine your existing marketing plan. Find a workshop near you.

Creating a customer profile or persona

Your customers should be the driver behind every marketing decision in your business.

The process of creating either a customer profile or customer persona will help clearly define your customers' needs by understanding their buying patterns, such as what, how and where they buy – and more importantly – their motivations for buying.

What's the difference between a customer profile and a customer persona?

  • A customer profile is a basic high-level description of your ideal customers.
  • A customer persona is a fictional customer with a photo, name and personality that represents the common traits of your ideal customers.

Write your profile or persona by downloading our interactive marketing plan template:

Marketing plan template (DOCX 140.2 KB)DOCX icon

Developing a persona

Develop a picture of your ideal customer:

  • Who are you already appealing to?
  • Who are your favourite customers?
  • Who is using your services the most?

When you've answered these questions, describe your ideal customer in detail to help shape a voice for your persona that you'll use for your marketing activities, such as:

  • what they wear
  • what their hobbies are
  • what concerns them. 

Flesh out and refine 

To flesh out and refine your initial assessment, examine the market research information you've gathered and answer the following questions:

  • Who are your target customers, and how do they behave?
  • What are the specific demographics of your ideal customer, such as age, social status, education and gender?
  • What are your customers' lifestyles, activities, values, needs, interests or opinions?
  • Where are they located? 
  • What type of environment do they live in?
  • What are the key phrases or quotes they would use to describe their problems?
  • How will your product or service remedy these problems?

Doing market research will help refine your customer persona and give it a personality to help you start creating marketing messages.

How customer segmentation can help

Market segments are groups of customers who share similar attributes and attitudes and can be defined by:

  • location
  • gender
  • industry
  • ethnic identity
  • attitudes, such as adventure seekers
  • attributes, such as luxury car owners.

When you target a well-defined segment of your customers, it's easier to refine your marketing message and your brand so you're speaking directly to them resulting in more targeted promotion and efficient marketing.

The way you segment your market depends on the type of business you run.

How can you improve your offering?

Having refined your customer persona, you can now tailor your marketing messages so they speak in a voice your customer can relate to and reflects their desires or concerns.

Having a persona also makes it easier to market your business around your customer and what they really want – not what you think they want – with the ability to make decisions relating to: 

  • how and where to advertise
  • what channels or mediums you should be using
  • what vocabulary to use.