Visualising The Customer

The two pillars of any business are its customers and its people. While having the right people is crucial to your success, everything starts with your customers.

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton

It is therefore important that you understand the customer from all angles. Who are they (demographics)? How do they think (psychographics)? What do they value (marketing utility)? Given limited resources, a new business must first focus on its most likely customers, who are called the beachhead target. It is helpful to develop a persona for this prototypical customer. The clearer you can visualize this person, the better you can understand what he needs and why he will buy your product. Please your customer and smile all the way to the bank is a maxim worth remembering.

Here is a list (I have shared this in an earlier post) of the key demographics and psychographics. Feel free to add or subtract from the list to customize it for your customer.

Key Demographics

• Age

• Gender

• Occupation

• Income

• Education

• Ethnicity

• Marital Status

• Children

• College Educated

• Geographic Location

Key Psychographics

• Environmental Focus

• Lifestyle (Active, Sedentary etc.)

• Social Focus (high, medium, low)

• Tech Savvy (high, medium, low)

• Image Conscious

• Financial Focus

• Key beliefs

• What is most important to them?

• What do they fear most?

• What do they read?

• Where do they travel?

• What shows do they like?

Marketing Utility

Divide the Marketing Utility pie of 100 points into the three utilities, FunctionalSocial and Emotional. In one sentence explain what you believe your customer is seeking from your product.

As an example, with the help of Professor Dobie, we have developed this data for Apple.



• Age 18-34

• Urban dwellers

• Middle/upper income ($100K)

• 67% have college degree

• Strong verbal aptitude


• Lifestyle focus

• 58% consider themselves “liberal” in politics

• Early adopter of new technology

• Want to be perceived as unique and different

• Appreciate simplicity and want to remove complexity from lives

• Prefer modern art and are design enthusiasts

• Throw more parties

• Care about the way the brand connects on a human level

• Less modest than PC users

• More assured of their own superiority


• 30% Functional

• 50% Social

• 20% Emotional

You may develop a similar persona for your customer using the above example as a guide.

Verinder, Author: Discover The Entrepreneur Within

Written by Verinder Syal
Verinder is the Principal at Thoughtful Simplicity, an award-winning teacher at Northwestern University, and the author of Discover The Entrepreneur Within.