Monday, 18 July 2022

Consumer profiling

Market segmentation is a tool which allows us to divide a large market into smaller sub-markets with relatively similar needs. We do it so we can ensure that any marketing communications, offers, or advertising is tailored to suit the market, so we don’t waste our effort, or our customer’s time. Segmentation enables us to design a ‘marketing mix’ – ways of reaching those consumers – that more precisely matches the needs of those consumers in that segment. NB: the Marketing Mix is the combination of elements such as product, place, price & promotion, which we use to market our offer (Hoye et al., 2015; Kotler & Armstrong, 2012; Morgan & Summers, 2005), known as the 4Ps.

Developing a consumer profile is a ‘fast & dirty’ way of segmenting the market. It forms a rough starting point to commence thinking about the consumers in the desired market segment, which can then be tested via market research of some type. 

This is not an EEO process. It is stereotyping, generalisation; and just a place to begin.  Consumer Personality can be defined as those consistently exhibited personal characteristics – demographic, behavioural & psychographic – both as a self-concept & when in the presence of others. 

 Why do we need to know this? If we match our consumer needs more closely, then they are far more likely to buy… and be happy to buy. They will continue to buy our product or service, as opposed to a competitor’s; and may even become a product evangelist for us. 

 This work is best done in a small group, if we can. To begin, it is always good to sharpen our insights by together reviewing an existing consumer segment for a brand that the group knows well. Once practiced and the group agrees on the results, move to the target profile. 

It is possible that there may only be one segment – the target market – for a brand or product. Starting by profiling the target market is fine (more segments can be explored later, if needed). 

We imagine that our segment or target market is a single person, in the room with us. We ask this person the following questions, trying to have them be as honest as possible, as stereotypical as possible, so we can form a representative profile of the group. The questions I came up with are based on the work on sports psychology in marketing communications by Kahle and Riley (2004, p. 273), where they nest a range of domains called the SportNEST (Young, 2008):

So, with our segment/target as the focus, we ask them our twelve base questions. We can drill down and ask more questions - there is no limit to the questions we can ask around demographics, psychographics and behaviour – but these first twelve tend to give us a reasonably clear picture for our fast and dirty impression. Note that some questions may not be answerable, because the segment/target is not – for example – gendered. Or focused on a single ethnicity. Or able to be confined to a particular locale, or educational background. The questions are: 

  1. What gender are they? 
  2. What would their name be? 
  3.  How old would they be? 
  4. What would their ethnic background be? 
  5. What education would they have? 
  6. Would they work? Who for? 
  7. Where would they live? 
  8. What car would they drive? 
  9. What would their marital status be? 
  10. What would their aspirations be? 
  11. What would their hobbies be? 
  12. What would their beliefs be? 

 This now moves us from ‘personality’ to a profile. We have a rough consumer profile we can use for targeting/segmentation. I developed this tool in 2008 to help customers and students to profile both consumers and brands very quickly, and it has proved very useful. 



Grainger, A. (2009). Rugby, Pacific peoples, and the cultural politics of national identity in New Zealand. The International Journal of the History of Sport, 26(16), 2335-2357.

Hoye, R., Smith, A. C. T., Nicholson, M., & Stewart, B. (2015). Sport Management: Principles and Applications (4th ed.). Routledge.

Kahle, L. R., & Riley, C. (2004). Sports Marketing and the Psychology Marketing Communication. Routledge.

Kotler, P., & Armstrong, G. (2012). Principles of Marketing (14th ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.

Morgan, M., & Summers, J. (2005). Sports Marketing. Cengage.

Young, S. (2008). Consumer Profiling. Author

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