Customer Modeling

Bob Dumouchel


This is the first in a series of articles on how to build your Digital Sales plan.

The foundation of a Digital Sales Strategy is an understanding of the Ideal Customer. You cannot talk to your market, if you do not know who they are. This concept is approached differently by different experts but ultimately your ability to communicate is based on:

  • Who they are
  • What they value
  • Where they are
  • Why they care

I purposely skipped over “When” because in Digital Sales, when is always the present. To model your ideal customer, I propose that you must consider:

  • Demographic Data
  • Firmographic Data
  • Personality Type
  • Business Role
  • Generation
  • Audience Share

Demographic information includes: age, race, ethnicity, gender, marital status, home ownership, income, education, and employment.

Firmographics are to businesses what Demographics are to people. Firmographic information includes: Industry SIC, Employees, Sales, Credit Rating, Website, Location, Growth Indicator, and much more depending on the source.

Personality Types give you an understanding of how this person receives and processes information. No one person is completely one personality type and this can vary depending on the circumstances of the communication. The types are Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance (DISC).

Business Roles often correlate personality but it is a soft relationship. Roles in a business are: Technicians, Managers, Rainmakers, Entrepreneurs, and Worker Bees. Roles drive how the person finds value in your product or service. What is positive to one could be a negative to another.

Generations gives you life experience references that can help you communicate with the group. How communication is received and processed often varies by the Generations. For example, it makes no sense to sell mobility or assisted living to Gen Z but it certainly fits the Silent and G.I. Generation. Although, it is possible that a Millennial might be a key part of the purchase decision for these items. Generations give you common life experiences you can tap to help communicate with that generation. For example for Baby Boomers, Vietnam was a life experience often with strong emotions. For Millennials, Vietnam is a history lesson with little or no emotional connection. Emotional connection is how many sales happen.

Audience Share indicates what share of the audience is represented by this profile. When building out your ideal customer profiles you want to stop somewhere between 80-100%. To help teams work with your profiles it’s a good idea to give your profiles common names and find pictures that visually communicates the profile.

With your audience profile clearly documented, you can start to examine messaging that talks to that profile. There are always exceptions to every statement made any time you deal with this type of data. Stereotypes get a bad name because they do not fit perfectly and they create lots of social problems. However, they are often very accurate for 90% of the group.

Data Quality  

Modeling requires a degree of guess work but you should strive to make this as accurate as possible. For existing businesses, this means looking at your best current customers. What is the gender mix? What generation do they belong to? Guess on what you have to but do your research it will pay big dividends.

Free Offer 

The free offer on this article will save you time, so while you can make your own, I have to wonder why someone would do that.