Simply put: target personas should be at the heart of your entire strategy. The products and services you sell are only because a consumer needs them. The messages you deliver should attract and engage those consumers to want to learn more about you and become a part of your club. You’re not just selling a thing, in today’s marketing landscape you should be building a community.
You can’t create a sustainable strategy if you don’t take the time to understand your consumers. So, if you’re looking to create clarity in your marketing and sales processes, and maybe identify ways to be more efficient with your time and budget, read on.
Target Audience vs. Target Persona
A target audience is developed with general data points like age, gender, purchasing power, geography and more. While these data points can help us define a wide net, it doesn’t really narrow it down enough to truly know our customers.
A target persona is the story about the segment we want to reach. A target persona outlines their daily life from the communication channels used to pain points experienced in their daily lives.
For example, a target audience could be “Women 25-54 who have an interest in outdoor sports, with a HHI of $150k+.”
A target persona, however, would be “Sally is a woman in her 30s living in a large metropolitan area, working remotely for a Fortune 1000 company. She’s an active person with a gym membership, participating in marathons at least once per year and enjoys traveling with friends. For her, the outdoors is a way to step away from her desk and get grounded. She seeks hiking trails in her immediate area, and in the areas she travels to.”
What You Learn With a Target Persona
When you develop a target persona you see your consumers as more than just a data point. You start to identify a clear vision of what motivates them to consider you, work with you and advocate for you.
As you implement a sales and marketing strategy around this persona, you’ll realize different segments of these consumers and can start to identify ways to deliver a more personalized experience.
This also means that you’re gaining better data about your consumers. See, as you develop a target persona, you’re understanding that you’re not actually for everyone. You can use this qualified data on your customers and their journey with you to refine your strategy and go out and find more people like them.
Developing a Target Persona
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, it all begins with market research! Compiling your company’s first party data is the starting point, but then looking out into the marketplace to find other consumer insights is the next step.
In the interactive workshops we conduct with clients, we take a deep dive into the data and work together to craft our persona’s story. Some key areas that should be included in your consumer analysis include:
Social Media: Social stalking can provide a lot of information about a person’s life – especially if they’re pretty open and conversational. By finding people who match your customer segment online you get an idea of their wants, needs, dreams, family life and more. Don’t forget to review the pages of your competitors and similar companies to help identify more insights.
Reviews and Forums: People have a lot to say online! Read reviews of your product, your competitor’s product and products in similar industry categories. What you’ll find are themes of likes and major dislikes. There are messages here for you to use.
Organic Search: When people need something, they search for it. By performing an SEO audit and analysis, you can find keywords, phrases and websites often visited for those results. This starts to open a world of potential to see where else your consumers are hanging out online.
Activating a Target Persona
Once you’ve crafted the story of your customer segment, it’s time to evaluate your marketing. Areas to review include:
Messaging: Are you pushing messages at your customers, or are you aligning their wants and needs? All of your marketing touch points should be built in a way to help your customer through the process, speaking to them as they want to be spoken to. How well are you doing that now that you’ve developed a persona?
Engagement: Your customers aren’t ready to buy immediately. How are you engaging them in the process? Are you offering ways for your customer to feel like you’re there for them, even when they’re not spending money?
Calls to Action: No one likes to be sold to…until they’re ready. And even more so, people are becoming more comfortable with making higher dollar purchases online without even talking to a person. Communicating as if you’re speaking to your customer directly is the way you win their business. If your calls-to-action aren’t working, looks like you’re back to evaluating messaging.
Company success isn’t about selling products and services. Company success happens when you better engage with your consumers.
Developing target personas is a key step in being able to better understand who your customers are, what they want and how you help them. By integrating your company into their daily lives you build the need and create longer-term loyalty.