Selecting Relevant Characteristics

Generic Demographics

These are the quantitative, measurable aspects that will help to cut down your target market quickly. Age, gender, geography – the typical measures may be important to you but they may not. Although they can be incredibly useful for some organisations, don’t get hung up on characteristics that have no relevance to your business and its offering.


You may choose for one reason or another to only work with customers within a specific location – a particular country, region or county. This may be a preference based on your capabilities or ability to maintain a work life balance. By defining where your business will operate you will save yourself time and money not working to get customers that don’t fit your needs.


Age is just a number, it does not dictate . However, sometimes it might have a practical impact on how receptive your audience is to your product or service. If your product or service is more relevant to individuals in a certain time of their lives it may be more appropriate to tailor your message according to this metric. For example – young parents or pensioners.


As with age, defining your ideal customer based on their gender is not about stereotyping, it is more about how relevant the message will be. Some solutions are tailored to women by necessity – feminine hygiene products, maternity beauty treatments for example, whereas others are based on trends and lifestyle.

Family Life

Your product may be most appropriate for couples, single parents, grandparents etc. so you may wish to make this distinction when building your personas.

Likes and Dislikes

Perhaps more meaningful characteristics for your business are our hobbies and interests, likes and dislikes. Our personal preferences affect how we perceive certain situations and dictate our behaviours. Take a look at your existing customers and see if there are more qualitative, intangible characteristics that they have in common.


Some solutions are more suitable for dog lovers or those who prefer the great outdoors (hiking equipment, pet supplies, netwalking) or your garage may only service vintage or high-end cars. There may be a more subtle connection within your customer base, so take a look at your current audience to see if there are any particular trends that bring your market together.

Working Activity

Do your potential clients tend to work part time? Do they work from home? Are they frequently in the car on the road heading to clients? Working patterns may well affect your choice of target customer, for example if you offer IT software for those that are on the road and require this to be mobile. Perhaps you are running a networking group that starts at 10am that working parents are more likely to be able to attend.


There are some business owners who want to run a lifestyle business with minimal effort. Others want to double, or triple their size with ambitious growth plans. Some may be shy and reserved, yet others are extroverted and boisterous. These characteristics may affect how responsive potential customers are to your product or service.

Be Specific

It’s likely you don’t have the time, energy or resources to look after every customer who fits your criteria. If you have particular experience, knowledge or connection to a particular sector and can tailor your products to appeal directly to that niche, you’ll likely find that you can develop more relevant and specific messages that will ultimately yield better results.