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Post 16: Who buy’s your shit?

Defining Customer Profiles

Who are your customers? Knowing who your customers are and understanding the problems they have intimately is an important part of any business.

While exploring my new product idea, the customer(s) have been very roughly defined in my head, so this week I took some time to try and define, categorise and understand them better.


It can be difficult to find the natural categories that customers fit into. The process that I find most useful is spending 30min going through my Twitter and Facebook feeds and saving the profile pictures of anyone who I think could benefit from the product (I aim for 50-100).

Photo 5-03-2014 10 12 40 am

These get printed off on A4 paper, laminated and roughly cut out. Then it’s just a matter of moving faces and logos around on a table into defined groups until you find a natural fit.

I find the process very valuable because it can provide some much needed structure in the early product development phases, as well as giving you some indication of the type of people and companies and their behaviours and motivations which can inform early product feature decisions.


On my second attempt at rearranging the profile pictures, I landed on 4 mains categories of customers and I was able to represent them on a 4×4 quadrant diagram (above).

The 4 categories are:

  1. Service providers not buyers (individuals)
  2. Service providers and buyers (individuals & business)
  3. Service buyers not providers (individual & business)
  4. Neither buyers or providers of services (individual & business)

With some structure around the customers, it’s now easier to list out common attributes that each group has, as well as the pain points specific to each group. This information allows us to narrow in on features that will hopefully solve these problems.

After showing this to Tony (@adeperio) we’ve decided to build an minimal viable product (MVP) that focuses on solving 1 or 2 problems for the customers on the right hand side of the quadrant.

We’re hopping to have it live in 1 – 2 weeks.

(This is the 16th post in a series as I explore some digital product ideas for 30 days. All my work is being published here on my blog. Click here to read the other posts, scroll down.)


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