If you’ve ever worked in the marketing or sales field, you may have come across the term customer persona. But no matter what industry you’re in, creating a well-rounded persona is crucial in developing a strong and effective marketing strategy. Personas take the targeting process one step further by creating a fully-developed customer as if it were a real person. By definition, a persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. It requires some creative brainstorming but should still be based on some evidence, like information on your past customers.
This persona should envelop everything you think your ideal customer would be like for this specific campaign. Usually, the targeting process involves the assembly of some basic demographic information (age, gender(s), location, etc.). But creating a persona requires digging deeper into that information and adding some behavioral and psychographic details.
How to Create a Persona
For example, imagine you’re an affordable product packaging company coming out with some new sustainable and biodegradable packaging. After some conversations, you decide that you want to target small organic food companies. So, what are those business owners like? Do they skew more male or female? How old are they? Where do they live? Are they married? Do they have kids? How much money do they make a year? These are all questions you should be asking yourself. And these are all things you’ll need to do some research to figure out.
But if we’re being completely honest, all of these questions should be answered when you’re developing your targeting strategy. Again, the creation of a customer persona takes this even further. Once you have all this information, you’ll start creating an entire personality going off of all the information you just discovered. You’ll give your persona a name and find a stock photo to represent him/her and start building it out even further. And for the record, giving your persona a name and photo is an important step because it makes him/her feel more real and that will help you in the long run for your campaign.
Giving your Persona a Personality
After defining your persona’s demographic information, you’ll start writing out their personality. What are they like? Are they outgoing or shy? What are they interested in? What does a day in their life look like? How do they behave online? These are all questions you’ll need to answer to develop a realistic and effective persona. But the most important questions will be answering these two questions: What motivates them and what frustrations do they have?
These two questions should be where your campaign can jump in. If we go back to our earlier example, a common motivation for any business owner is that they want their company to succeed. But maybe this organic foods business owner is frustrated by how much waste food companies produce in terms of product packaging. They’re interested in switching their packaging to something more sustainable, but they’ve found that most sustainable packaging is too expensive for them. This is where your biodegradable, but affordable packaging could solve their problems.
How Personas Help Marketing Efforts
After figuring all this out, you can better market your products because now, when you’re creating marketing materials, you’ll refer back to your persona. If your persona saw this ad on social media, would he/she click on it? Would they go through the entire purchase based on this ad? If the answer’s no, then you probably shouldn’t devote your time and resources to this effort and figure something else out. And because you gave your persona a name, you can argue that that ad won’t work because Charlie would never click that. And that sounds much more convincing than saying, “I don’t think our target market will go for that ad”.
Customer personas can be a powerful tool for a marketing campaign. But only if you commit to the idea and all the details necessary to develop an effective strategy. It’s easy to create a fictional person and pretend like they’re one of your customers. But it takes much more work to build one out to the point of knowing who that person is and applying him/her to your overall campaign. From there, everything becomes easier because you’re basing your marketing efforts on that persona from what platforms to invest in to the kinds of messaging these ads will have. While building a customer persona takes a good amount of time and effort to put together, it’ll be well worth it in the end.
If you and your business need help developing a customer persona or require a consultation for your marketing needs, please feel free to contact us by phone or email or request for a quote on our Online Marketing page.
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