What’s a Demographic Profile?

Customer Intelligence, Demographic Profile

Customer Intelligence. Demographic Profiles. Market Research.

To the non-data friendly marketers, these are scary terms. However, they are also important pieces of your marketing plan, so be sure to include this information.

What is a demographic profile? Why do I need it?

First, let’s take a step back and ask the bigger question – who is your customer? Can you answer that question? Whether you are a B2B or B2C business, you should be able to clearly identify your customer or end user. And this needs to be much more specific than “moms who like ice cream” or “teens who are interested in business”.

The dictionary tells us that a demographic profile is “a description of a particular type of customer, including their sex, age, income, etc. By developing a demographic profile of your best customers, you can target your marketing efforts more successfully.”  Expanding on the “etc” of that statement, I would say it also includes geographic information, social class, marital/family status, ethnicity, education level, career, and social/religious affiliations. The more you can learn about your customers, the better you can communicate with them.

Gaining some insights into who your tribe is will help you in several ways:

  • Improve communication with customers
  • Refine your product / service
  • Discover underutilized channels for communications and marketing
  • Help you to create internal marketing goals

 Starting with Market Research

It takes time and effort to conduct market research. Before you dive into research, gather the information you do already know about your customers. This will help you to understand the kinds of questions you need answered to create a clearer picture of your customer segments.

Market Research Tactics

If you have an established customer base, then delivering a survey or hosting a focus group is an easy place to start. Decide on a minimum number of people that you want to collect responses from (sample size) – you can base this on the population of your sales area, current customer base, or a demographic group (such as married women between 25 and 35).

After gathering all of the information, spend some time doing research. If you discover that one of your customer segments is men, age 40-42, unmarried, with a bachelor’s degree, living in lower Manhattan, high income earners, and are interested in European sports of all kinds; then you should dig deeper into each of these sub-categories to better understand the customer. Is this a group that commonly loves all sports or just soccer and rugby? Perhaps there is a subculture that you never knew about.

Client Intelligence is the End Result

Your aim with the research is to gain a fundamental understanding of your audience, so take the time to really understand who your tribe is and why they love your company. Do not neglect those who dislike your company completely either. You may be able to gain some insights from them as well.

Well collected an analyzed market research will provide you with the insights you need to improve your marketing plan, and hopefully you’ll also be able to reallocate budget dollars to better channels.


Telling Your Own Story

It’s easy to be swept up in a client’s brand story and forget about telling your own story. When you are a consultant (or freelancer or contractor), it’s so important to pause and think about the content you are putting out to the world, the story you tell people, and how you are sharing it. I am a victim of getting lost in the chaos of work and forgetting to think about my story, at least for a little while.

Identify Your Specialty


What is your field of expertise

Start by writing an email or pitch to yourself. Try to sum up what you know best in the simplest possible terms. Are you an incredible graphic designer for tech companies? Maybe you are a highly organized hospitality manager, a technical writer for procedures and guides, or a project manager for non-technology jobs. The clearer you can be about your field, the better.

What do you feel the most comfortable offering to clients

This is where you get into the nitty gritty. I scribbled down things as they happened during work – the specific kinds of tasks that I am best at and feel I can confidently offer. While I’m not a technical writer, I feel comfortable talking about technology and the kinds of materials that are required. On the other hand, I’m very comfortable working with clients to do the market research and create a true demographic profile of their customers.

Consultant, Identify Your Specialty

Consultants Need a Specialty

You can tip toe into the water, or run with open arms. Either way, take a look into your self to figure out your specialty. These are just two of the key questions to keep yourself in check. Since I’m still relatively new to being a consultant, it is only in the past few weeks that I have been able to clearly identify the answers to these questions. It took me about a year of trying things out, testing my limits and asking a lot of questions to find my own answers.