In the spring of 1996, my best friend shoved my skull into the school fence (during a game of “British Bulldog”).

Mrs. Darcy, the school nurse/receptionist/supply teacher, said I needed to go home.

Both Mum and Dad were unavailable.

And this led to one of the most important ideas I ever encountered …

My Aunty Jackie picked me up in her Volvo saloon, which was always a big deal for me because we never had a car.

We didn’t have a PC, either. But Aunty Jackie had a home office.

I spent the afternoon confused (and mesmerised) by Minesweeper, Solitaire, Paint, and a screensaver of the Windows logo bouncing around.

— Note: The confusion was unrelated to the head injury, I think, and my Auntie Jackie was supervising the whole time. She’s lovely. —

When Dad brought me home for tea that night, he wanted to talk about the lump growing out of my forehead.

I never shut up about the magic of Jackie’s computer.

For roughly two days, he had me convinced there was no magic involved. But a little man inside the tower unit, who makes it all happen.

I regard it as one of the most important ideas of my life, today, because I still imagine that little man when looking into a client’s website.

Instead of making a computer do what it does, the man explores the associated website as the customer – in a way that, thanks to things like Google Analytics, I’m able to actually see.

Over the years, Google has introduced features like the Demographics tab, and my image of the little man has changed.

Now I can see his age. The phone in his pocket. The browser installed on his desktop. The markets he’s generally interested in. The markets he’s engaged with, right now. The social network he used to find the website.  Where he lives. And whether “he” is even a he, at all.

If I make a change to a particular page, I can monitor how he responds.

If he likes it (which I can assume when he spends more time on that page and engages with it), I can make the same change on more pages.

If he doesn’t, I can undo the change and move onto something else.

This idea gets me in trouble, from time to time, as it can seem like I ignore a client’s complete audience … by pretending it is made up of just one man.

But that singular view gives you the edge when it comes to marketing.

Because if you don’t write as though you’re talking to the one person reading your content at any given moment, you risk alienating everybody.

Google Analytics is just the beginning, the “DNA” of your little man equivalent is made up from LOADS of data sources (CRM data, customer surveys, Facebook, Twitter, and so on).

To pull it all together into a single profile, there are certain foundations you need in place, first.

You also need to know how to look at the data, once you have it.

And you can only worry about that, once you’re confident the data you’re looking at is correct.

Despite a lifetime of imagining a miniature single customer inside computers, I’m nowhere near good enough at this on my own.

So, this year, I selfishly helped devise a marketing strategy for Latitude, which focuses on the topic of customer profiling. And I started by interrogating our most senior figures on how we do it best for our clients.

Here’s a photo from the interrogation of Rick Lamb:

customer_profiling_latitude

The Marketer’s Handbook on Customer Profiling (Free Download)

As a follow-up to that session, Rick authored the first chapter of The Marketer’s Handbook on Customer Profiling.

And so my education begins …

Inside, he covers:

  • The importance (and potential) of customer profiling in today’s data-rich world
  • 3 challenges in the way of customer profiling for the modern marketer
  • 3 good habits to improve your customer profiling tomorrow

If you’re ready to get started with me, just enter your email and click the subscribe button below to get your free copy.

And if you want to learn more about how my weird mind works, I’m happy to treat the comments section as a therapy session … I might need it.

Get the Marketer’s Handbook on Customer Profiling