How to research your competition to create customer personas  for your “initial” marketing campaigns

A very rough draft: Seeking input on titles and other methods and angles on how to build customer profiles for initial marketing campaigns. This is for new brands who don’t have a clear picture of who their target customer is.

Mar 30, 2014 · 5 min read

If you have a fairly new brand and don’t have enough customers to create a customer profile you can research your closest competitors customers to get a pretty clear idea of who your perfect customer is, where they live and what they like. The logic is simple, if they are interested in your competitor’s products or services, why wouldn’t they be interested in your products and services as well? In the steps below I will show you how to reverse engineer your competition to get all the information you need about your market and target customers so you can begin to create an effective marketing strategy.

For this exercise we will be researching the “Hair Industry” and using real research data and real brands.

1. Go to and enter your main competitors.

  • Example: Bella Dream Hair

2. Take note of any more competitors & existing alternatives in the “Top” and “Rising” related searches. Also enter them into the Google Trends search boxes.

  • Example: Sassy Mitchell and Aliexpress Hair

3. Again take note of any more competitors & existing alternatives in the “Top” and “Rising” related searches. Also enter them into the Google Trends search boxes.

  • Example: “Queen Hair”
  • NOTICE: I used quotation marks around “queen hair” so the search can return more accurate results. Queen and hair are very common terms by themselves so i only want google trends to give me data when “queen hair” are used together in a phrase.

4. Next narrow down your location to the United States and set your time period to the Past 12 months.

5. Write down the top 6 cities for each competitor and check off the task list above.

NOTICE: These are the top cities with the most customers, fans and supporters of your competitors products and services.


  • Bella Dream Hair: New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles
  • Sassy Mitchell: Atlanta, New York
  • Aliexpress Hair: Baltimore, New York, Hialeah, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Washington
  • “Queen Hair”: New York, Atlanta, Chicago
  • Top 6 Cities: New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Baltimore, Hialeah, Philadelphia

6. Next you want to find your target customers gender. To do this you want to find your competitors Facebook Pages and pull the gender data from there. Signup for a free account at and enter your competitors Facebook fan pages. Once you get your gender data write it down and check off the task list above.


  • Bella Dream Hair: 93% Female
  • Sassy Mitchell: 88% Female
  • Target Gender: Female

7. Next you want to get the age ranges of your target customers from your competitors Facebook Pages. Write it down and check off the task list above.


  • Bella Dream Hair 18 — 24 years old
  • Sassy Mitchell 25 — 34 years old

8. Next we want to find your target customers hobbies and professions. The way we do that is by analyzing the Twitter Bios of your competitors followers. Signup for a free account at to complete this task. If your competitors Twitter account has over 250k followers you can signup for the free 30 day trial to get your research data then cancel your account. If you want even more demographic data you can use this tool to spy on your competitors followers Once you are done mark off the tasks that apply above.

Example Analysis of Sassy Mitchell Followers

  • Major Cities: Atlanta, New York, Chicago (Matches previous google trends data for “top hair markets”)
  • Best time to tweet is 7-8 pm
  • Religious Beliefs: God, Christian, god first, god fearing, love god, god 1st (Use ANY religious key terms)
  • Political/Social Leaning: Love, life, live, living, liberal, lover, free spirit, happiness
  • Customer Roles: Mother, Wife, Business Woman,
  • Profession: Stylist, Hair Stylist, Makeup Artist, Hair Salon, Business Woman
  • Hobbies/Interests: Hair, beauty, fashion, hair care, natural hair, hair extensions, social media
  • Key Topics: Barack Obama, money, religion and spiritually, photography, food, politics, music, moms

Everyone Meet Alesha…

  • Alesha lives in Atlanta
  • is 25 years old
  • is a mother of one adorable baby girl
  • has recently married
  • is a hair stylist and does makeup for extra income
  • wants to own her own hair salon one day
  • goes to church on sundays maybe even attends bible study on wednesdays
  • is a Democrat and voted for Obama
  • loves reading about hair care and frequently reads fashion blogs
  • is addicted to Instagram
  • is very spiritual and loves motivational, inspirational and spiritual content
  • likes to attend fashion, hair and beauty shows and conventions
  • loves music, shopping and being with friends and family
  • There’s so much more to Alesha. Its your job to learn even more about her problems, wants and needs.

Now that you have one or more customer personas you can….

  • Make better marketing messages and Unique Value Propositions (UVP’s)
  • Create social media content that your target customer is more likely to connect with
  • Use online ad networks to market to other users that are similar to your customer personas
  • Improve your products and services so that they solve your target customers wants and needs better
  • Connect with your target customers on a deeper more personal level
  • Create more focused and targeted online and offline marketing campaigns

Thanks for reading this far! If you found value in this, I’d really appreciate it if you scrolled a little further and hit the Recommend button.

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