From Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, there is the following example sentence for the second meaning in the entry of the noun profile.

We first build up a detailed profile of our customers and their requirements.

I feel a detailed profile in that sentence reads a little weird. I think it has to be modified into the plural form detailed profiles since they will be multiple ones as the customers would be more than one.

But as that sentence is from a prominent dictionary, there will be no way it would be wrong. What do you think about that?

1 Answer 1


In marketing, the word profile is generally not applied to each individual customer. Rather, it is a description of a typical customer that the business is targeting. That's why it is used in the singular here: the speaker is saying that their typical customers have enough similarities that a single profile can describe all of them. Businesses will often construct these profiles so that they can design products and services that satisfy the needs of this typical customer, rather than having to ask each individual customer what they want to buy.

Even if the plural profiles were used, it would probably not mean that they are profiling each and every customer individually. Instead, it would imply that they have divided up their customers into discrete groups, each of which can be profiled. For example, you could imagine a tax-preparation software company dividing its customers into profiles like (1) individual tax-payer, (2) small business, and (3) professional tax-preparer.


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