The following is a guest post from Quinn Duffy, head of Growth at Kit CRM

Targeted marketing is the primary growth engine for the majority of online businesses. This means that any bit of information you can use to your advantage should be researched and analyzed. What is one of the foundations of effective marketing? Understanding your audience – and how to turn that understanding into actionable advertising intelligence.

Once you start to understand your target market, who is going to actually be ordering from you, you can take that information and turn it into actionable advertising intelligence. The sheer amount of resources available online to help you understand your customer down to the smallest detail means there is no excuse. With all the opportunities to communicate directly with your customer and the tools you can use to extract information from their activity, you should be gathering intelligence weekly.

Understanding Your Customer

There are many ways to glean information about who and where your ideal customer is. I will touch lightly on the different aspects of buyer personas to lead you down the right path.

One of the more interesting data points I have found that is often overlooked is the location of your customer. This goes far beyond their country or state. You have precise data about where you are sending your packages. Given enough volume you can segment down to the state level, the city, and even the zip code – knowledge is power. You can use that information to gauge purchasing power of your average customer based on income for their zip code, better understand the weather patterns experienced by your most valuable customers, and calculate the best time of day to run certain types ads.


Image Courtesy of SF Weekly

The next step is going to be breaking each customer out by gender, age and interests. These are actually much harder to determine because this information is not volunteered in the same way that location data is from customers letting you know where they want goods shipped. There are many different tools you can use to pull that information: Google analytics, custom customer information fields when they create accounts, customer surveys, Mixpanel tracking, heatmapping etc.

By far the best option, if you have a large enough customer base, is to upload your customer emails into a Facebook custom audience. From there go to the Audience Insights tool, select the custom audience you uploaded for analysis and you will be able to plumb the depths of your customers’ personalities.

Now that you have an understanding of who your target customer is, however basic or complex, build your buyer personas. If you aren’t sure exactly what a buyer persona is, reference this excellent article on Shopify’s blog and learn from the best in the industry. Shopify also delves further into methods you can use to gather useful information on potential customers.

Actionable Advertising Intelligence

Marketing preparation is about gathering as much information as you can and taking action on that data. The buyer personas have been built, you have established who your target customers are, so what next?


Running ads on Facebook? Use your buyer personas to inform your ad targeting. The data you get back, on who clicked and who converted, can be used as a feedback loop to improve what you may already know about your customers. Facebook’s reporting is a powerful tool and can help improve on much of what you already know. There are some excellent resources out there which will help you understand how to best leverage Facebook’s data, both from the esteemed Jon Loomer:

  • Advanced Facebook Ads
  • The New Facebook Ads Manager

Now you want to start laying on even deeper layers of understanding. Remember, this is an investment in your businesses. Plan on and expect growth. Lightweight follow-up surveys can be a great way of better understanding who you are serving. For customers ordering large ticket items or with expensive carts, send them a post-purchase survey to understand what they are really all about. You can use this to better understand their demographics or their psyche. Bonus? Helps in future product development and if done properly helps create buy-in from customers. A great way to get customers invested in your brand is to make them feel like they are part of the team.

Onwards and Upwards

The beautiful thing about data is that you can use it for more than one channel. So in addition to pure play marketing, i.e. Facebook and Adwords, what else can you use all that customer information for?

  • Website design: insight into how your demographic interacts with your website, what devices they use, how much time they are spending in certain apps etc.
  • Photoshoots: what are your customers attracted to? where do they see themselves?
  • Language: now that you know who your customer is, find what publications they are reading and use that to improve and tighten your copy.
  • Promotions: improve your open rates and activation rates by gearing promotions towards events and holidays most likely to be attending or observed by your audience.

About the author: With years of experience in marketing and digital partnerships, Quinn Duffy heads Growth at KitCRM. Kit is the world’s first virtual marketing employee built to save you time and help grow your business, all with a simple text message.

Header image courtesy of Joe