What do you want to get out of developing a marketing persona?
When you are in the headspace of your customers, you can strategize and focus your marketing efforts on a more targeted approach instead of blanketing a broad industry or geographic location with generalized messages. Investing your marketing budget to speak to a smaller group within your target market, rather than speaking to everyone, effectively increases your Return on Investment.
Where to start when creating a marketing persona
First, you need to define your existing customers and who you would like to be your customer in the future. Having two separate personas focuses your messaging and brings up important questions. Do your personas differ? How are they the same? Develop a demographic snapshot of these two markets to find out.
Market A: The Existing Customer
It may feel silly, but choosing a name helps you treat your target market like a real person. Can’t think of a name? The United States Social Security Administration maintains a database of popular baby names you can filter by year, location, and gender. See it here.
Quantitative data from your Client Management System (CMS) will keep your persona accurate.
Unconscious biases can affect your perception of your customer’s gender, so be sure to refer to data from your CMS.
This information may be more difficult to find if your CMS is incomplete, but it’s important information to include.
The bracket your customer falls into is crucial for you to understand their buying power and the growth potential.
Once you’ve completed the demographic information for Market A, your existing customer, repeat the process for Market B, your future customer. While you may not have the level of detailed data you need in your CMS, you can access research online from qualified sources like the Pew Research Center or conduct your own study through services like the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research.
Create a story for your persona
Once you establish the basics of your Market personas, take it a step further to capture their motivations and interests. Use online research about your demographic, buying behavior patterns recorded in your CMS, or a survey to answer the following questions, and any additional questions to help you understand your markets. At the end of the process, you want a complete, well-rounded picture of your two types of customers.
What are their interests?
Where do they shop? What are their buying habits?
Do they engage with social media? If so, what channels do they use and how often?
What are their travel habits?
What do they do for fun? Social engagements?
What non-profit causes do they support?
Who are their influencers?
Where do they gain knowledge? TV? Radio? Books?
Listing several descriptive phrases that might apply to this person also helps craft a narrative.
For example: Market A travels abroad, speaks two languages, watches PBS, volunteers with the school’s PTO, reads in the evenings after they put the kids to bed, plays Pandora during the day, likes comfy socks, and enjoys a nice glass of wine.
Finally, make the extra effort to mentally take yourself through a day in their life, step by step. What does a typical day look like? What problems do they have to solve throughout their day?
Put it all together for your strategy
Write the story you see with the information you have gathered and use it to identify when and where they are open to various forms of marketing and what message resonates the most.
Put the complete story together for your persona in an attractive visual representation. Read your personas out loud to yourself and review it with others. Now that Market A and Market B are in front of you as an actual person, you are ready to develop a strategy that will speak directly to them when they are most ready to receive it.
The persona group exercise
At Nova, we make the process of creating personas a group exercise internally and with our clients. Getting inside the mind of the consumer prior to developing strategies, messaging and visuals ensures our clients receive the best results. Get started on the right track using marketing effectively to reach your goals by contacting us to schedule your persona session.