Creating Marketing Personas that actually work for your business.
The creation of ‘personas’ or Persona Marketing to give it its formal title is one of the first things students learn when studying for marketing degrees. As a result, it’s a technique that’s often much maligned and thought of as being old-fashioned. However, in real terms the first thing any marketer needs to figure out is who exactly is it they’re trying to sell to. This is where Persona Marketing comes into it’s own. There are two elements to the process, firstly figuring out who your customers are, and then figuring out how to market to them in just the right way.
You’ll have seen great persona marketing, you just might not realise what you’re looking at, as everyone brings their own set of proclivities to viewing anything. Great persona marketing is working when you see an advert and just think, “That’s me. They’re talking to me. They understand me.” When this happens, you’re looking at a company that just ‘gets’ their target audience and understands exactly how to market to them.
It isn’t easy to pull off this kind of connection. There are some companies that do persona marketing well and obviously others that don’t.
How to write credible personas for your persona marketing
First things first, don’t just make them up. If they’re to be of any use and effective in any meaningful way, you need to do your research and take the time to break down who your current customers actually are. Depending on the size of your business, you can do this my quizzing your sales team or even better having them fill out a detailed form that you can create for them.
Once you have this information you need to sit down and write out each persona carefully, taking the time to note each nuance. There are tonnes of online resources for persona marketing but generally, you need to cover five main areas in detail:
Job & Demographic Information
How old are they?
Job level and seniority?
Where do they live?
Are they married?
Do they have kids?
What level of education do they have?
Are they hectic?
Do they travel a lot?
Do they have a base of operations?
Problems & Pain Points and how to solve them
What are their problems?
How can you solve those problems?
What do they value more? Time. Money. Both equally?
What are their goals and aspirations
Where do they search for information to solve their problems?
Newspapers and magazines?
Mobile phone apps?
Example Marketing Persona
Here’s a Persona Marketing example that we recently wrote for a client looking to sell houses in Chelmsford. Their sales team on site had noticed that they were getting lots of visits from young professionals currently living and working in East London. After spending some time talking to their sales team we were able to create multiple personas which we then marketed to via social and digital channels.
Dan is 33 to 39
He works in London in the creative industries.
He is educated to degree level.
He is in a long-term relationship and he and his partner are thinking/planning/having their first child within the next 18 months.
He and his wife are looking to buy their first house and cannot afford to buy the house they would ideally love in East London, as a result they’re looking to buy somewhere where they can afford within easy daily reach of Dan’s work. Dan will be the sole breadwinner when their child comes along.
He is entrepreneurial and would like to eventually own his own creative business.
Dan works long hours in a dynamic job within the creative industries. An easy commute is important to Dan and he potentially cycles to work currently. He often goes out after work with the same group of people he works with.
Problems and Pain Points:
Dan has finite resources but places significant value on craftsmanship, design, and uniqueness. He is looking for something different from the norm but doesn’t have the money to afford his dream house in either East London or on the Essex coast. He is now faced with a requirement of needing to buy his first home for his family.
Where Dan goes for information:
Dan is tech-savvy and gets his information almost exclusively online, he is active on social media and he uses his mobile phone for this purpose. He reads design-related blogs and Wired.com, as well as a number of creative industry websites, such as dezeen.com. He is a fast learner and is eager to develop his skills and educate himself about the latest trends in his industry and the small business/entrepreneurial sector. He wants to keep up with business and tech news, but he is more interested in advice.
The finished marketing persona
The finished marketing persona is essentially a story that focuses on behaviours as opposed to just a list of speculative facts. Properly researched and fleshed out, the marketing persona is a roadmap of how to connect or resonate with a particular audience demographic. When writing copy on your website, you can use these characters that you’ve built and write directly to them, with the goal of answering their specific questions and solving their specific problems. They will give you a much clearer sense of your audience and allows you to effectively tailor your content and strategy.