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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 Understanding Marketing and Marketing for Growth workshops can help you develop a marketing action plan to focus your effort and resources in the right areas, including market research, online activities and customer service. Find a workshop near you.

Creating a customer profile or persona

The process of creating either a customer profile or customer persona will help you to clearly define your customer’s needs by understanding their buying patterns (what, how and where they buy) and more importantly, their motivations for buying. Your customers should be the driver behind every marketing decision in your business.

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, personality etc.) that represents the common traits of your ideal customers.
Write your profile or persona in 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 have answered these questions, describe your ideal customer in detail including what they wear, what their hobbies are and what concerns them. This will help to shape a voice for your avatar that you use for your marketing activities.

Flesh out and refine 

To flesh out and refine your initial assessment, examine the market research information you have 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 that they would use to describe their problems problems (that your product or service will remedy)?
Doing market research will help you 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. Segments can be defined by: location, gender, industry, ethnic identity, attitudes (e.g. adventure seekers) and attributes (e.g. 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 that you're speaking to them directly. This results 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 that they speak in a voice your persona 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.