Did you know that according to experts, we’re exposed to up to 10,000 marketing messages a day? With so many businesses contending for our attention, only those with messages that are the most relevant to us stand any chance of cutting through the noise. In order to do this, smart businesses have started to adopt a practice known as ‘persona development’.
Simply put, personas are fictional characters that businesses create which are based on their ideal customers. Personas can include details such as needs, goals, behaviours and pain points, as well as demographic information. In reality, most businesses will need to create a number of personas, each relating to their different audience segments.
With personas, the end goal is that after creating them, you’ll understand your customer segments better and therefore be able to communicate with them much more effectively. So how do you go about creating a marketing persona?
Step 1: Research
The very best personas are created with a large helping of data and a pinch of creativity. In the research phase, there are a few methods of gathering information that will help you develop the perfect personas:
Current Data - Start with the low-hanging fruit and look at data already available to you. This could be information from your current customer database, Google Analytics, previous surveys and so on. Do you notice any patterns or trends emerging?
Market Research - If you don’t have too much prior data to build upon, or you’re looking to update and expand upon the data you do have, market research would be very beneficial. Depending on your budget, this could range from running simple polls on social media, to website surveys and even full-blown focus groups.
Educated Guesses - While we’re firm believers in going with true data where possible, you may be able to make educated guesses if you’re unable to get accurate data relating to topics such as salary, marital status and so on.
Step 2: Creating the Personas
After the fact-finding stage is complete, it’s time to sit down and actually create the personas. There are many free persona templates available online that you can model, but we’d highly recommend taking a look at some of them and adapting them to create your own template that’s tailored to your business.
Here are a few things you might want to consider to get your creative juices flowing:
Stock Photograph of them
Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to crafting personas, so go with the level of detail that best suits your needs.
Step 3: Getting Buy-In
Now that you’ve crafted your personas, you need to get buy-in from your colleagues so that you can roll them out across the business. After all, the personas will need to be used by various departments (such as sales and marketing) in order to work properly.
Our top suggestion for introducing the concept of personas to your colleagues is to make a persona of one of the key decision makers in sales, before presenting the other personas that you created. This will allow your colleagues to see just how accurate, insightful and useful a persona can be.
During this session, you can also solicit feedback about the personas you developed for the business and brainstorm how they could be improved upon with insights from people in other areas of the business. If people feel like they’ve played a part in the creation of the personas, they’ll be far more likely to adopt them in their day to day roles.
So there you have it - a simple 3 step system to get started with persona development. Once you walk through this process and adopt a more customer-centric approach to marketing, you’ll find crafting compelling communications much easier.
We’d love to hear from you! Tweet us @DMA_Partners and let us know your thoughts about using marketing personas. If you’re looking for some guidance on implementing marketing personas, please contact our Managing Partner, Philip Martin, to discover how we can help: firstname.lastname@example.org.