Personas. You’ve probably heard of them and maybe you understand them, or maybe you don’t. That’s okay. We are here to help.
Personas are a tool companies can use to better understand your customer base. Sometimes they are referred to as buyer personas.
So you probably already have a general understanding of who your customer is often expressed in terms of demographics -things like age, gender, household income. In some cases you may even have an understanding of the psychographics of your customer- things related to behavior like values and interests. You may even know more about your particular customer and their lifestyle like what kinds of media they consume, where they shop and what other products they buy.
With personas what we aim to do is personalize this data into a real person. Or at least a facsimile of one! We take the data, the cold hard facts and humanize them using them to build a depiction of someone you can relate to as an individual so you can then think of them beyond just marketing terms. Sometimes it’s more than one person. Maybe your particular product or services has three potential audiences perfect for you.
So an example let’s say your customer is female age 35 with 2 kids earning 150k- to build a persona you turn that information you know into someone you can name with additional information. For example, Lisa is a full-time nurse married 15 years who struggles with a work life balance. She cares about providing the best possible home for her family while still being relatively conscious of spending. You may come up with statements that Lisa can relate to, or those that absolutely do not fit her lifestyle.
- Lisa thinks being a good mother means providing for her family.
- Lisa doesn’t necessarily think paying more means you are getting more for your money.
By thinking of your customers as a real person you’re actually turning data into a person and with that you can begin to craft marketing messages that better relate to that person. In this case Lisa probably doesn’t care about making sure she has an umbrella policy with her insurance company. But if you can change the messaging into language that she can personally relate to: protecting her family, making her life easy with a policy and plan that requires little time, Lisa may pay attention.
It is quite common to see a page or two written for each persona. The goal is to bring your users to life by developing them, their personalities, motivations, and often even a photo. In other words, a good persona is highly personalized and brought to life so as to be identifiable.
Myths about Personas
The most important thing to state when discussing what personas are not is that personas are not made up. For a persona to have any value in influencing and guiding your targeting and communications it is imperative they are based on real data collected.
This data can come from a number of sources. The intention is in finding patterns of behavior and/or motivations that can start to describe different “types” of user.
Personas can also help inform media buying and media strategies as well. So in this example, Lisa as a busy mom who may not watch much TV but she is on her mobile phone and on the go. Social media campaigns might be best suited to her.
Oftentimes working on personas and segmentation strategies not only can you define your best opportunity audience (those most likely to convert) but also sub tiers that could potentially be ripe for your messaging but previously had been unidentified.
How are personas different than market segmentation?
Market segmentation is a valuable tool for categorizing a market and their likelihood to purchase. Personas, on the other hand, help inform what it is that this proposed product or service should actually do, based on the recognized needs of the user.
What to do with a persona/personas once you have them?
When you have detailed personas, you can then:
Address the problem your buyer is trying to solve
Address specific beliefs they may have about the product or service AND disbeliefs
Pinpoint accurate placement. When you understand your buyer personas, you know where they are, and how to reach them at the right time.
In short you can be relevant.
Personas aren’t just a B2C strategy either. They can also play an important role in business to business. With it you can help identify decision-makers. Once you have their persona developed it can help to craft a strategy to get past the gatekeepers, reach the stakeholders and influence the decision-makers.
Crafting personas will help you better understand your customers behaviors translating to more sales and better relationships.