How do some brands seem to understand their audiences in ways that make people willing to go to the mat for them even when things aren’t perfect? What kind of messaging makes them respond, react, engage with, and love your brand?
The first step toward that goal is to really “get” your customers in a way they can feel. You can achieve this by developing data-driven personas as a foundation for your marketing, sales and even product development activities.
What is a persona?
A persona is a data-driven profile of your ideal customer. It is a way to make individuals in your target audience more relatable for your marketing and sales activities. Understanding your customer data — including data your organization already has in sales and marketing tools as well as data from primary and secondary consumer research — helps your team identify the best ways to reach that customer through content and messaging. Persona development is just as critical to the growth of your business as any other activity you use to make sense of the data your company generates every day about your customers.
In short, personas help you take rich information you have (or should get) to humanize your target audience to create the right content and buyer journeys for them. Personas support your marketing activities across every channel so that your customer wants to stay immersed in your brand’s content because they enjoy it and find it helpful in their decision-making process.
How many personas do you need?
This depends on your target audience and how you are segmenting it. You should create at least one persona to represent each potential audience segment in your broader target audience. Taking the time to develop a small group of people who represent individuals in your segment will make your marketing activities just that much more relatable and effective. It will also increase your ROI.
How are personas used in your marketing plan?
Here’s a simple example. Instead of a generalized newsletter that you send out each week to your customers – you divide and conquer with different content catered to different personas. If you are using a dynamic content marketing solution that delivers unique content that is crafted for the people who are part of each of your audience segments, you should see increased KPIs — better open rates, better click-through-rates, more time on your website, etc.
How do I create personas?
You can create customer personas by sifting through the data you already have about your target audience. This may include information from your customer relationship management tool, your email marketing and website KPIs, sales information, and even feedback from your frontline employees. But don’t stop there. Effective personas include information collected through survey research, depth interviews, focus groups, usability studies, and more. To market to an audience, understanding their wants, needs, motivations and decision-making processes are vital. It’s also crucial to hear them describe their problems and possible solutions using their words and within the context of their unique lives.
The research helps to identify common denominators among your customers that help you focus on what matters most to them. You can then create audience segments with fictional characters to help give them the dimension your team needs to do great marketing. You’ll give them a name, an age, and a life your team can think about in terms of how your brand helps them.
The best marketing plans are humancentric — they never lose sight of the people who are trying to understand a brand to solve a problem or meet a need they have. Building a marketing plan on personas is the surest way to create a brand that is not only relatable — it is a brand that keeps customer engaged and even evangelizing your brand well beyond the initial purchase.
The rest of the story
Like any project, you’ll get out of it what you put in. Creating valuable personas can be the key to unlocking your marketing strategy. That’s why having a team of experts on your side is important. M3 Group can help you gain a better understanding of your target customers through research and insight. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 517-927-1599.
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