Most industry insiders agree that good marketing is all about figuring out not just what to say to your audience, but also when and how to say it. In order to craft that perfect message and communicate it effectively, you have to understand your audience.
So what exactly does that mean, and how do marketers accomplish it? One important way is through marketing personas. Sometimes called buyer personas, marketing personas create clear portraits of potential customers, literally putting a name – if not a face – to the often nebulous concept of your “target audience.”
Below, we’ll define marketing personas, explain why marketing personas are important, and provide tips for developing personas for your own company.
What Are Marketing Personas?
A marketing persona is a fictional “sketch” of a key segment of your target audience. This sketch helps you create a marketing strategy that is more relevant and valuable to the customers who matter most to your business. Once again, good marketing is all about figuring out what to say, and how and when to say it. By bringing faceless consumers to life with concrete identifiers, marketing personas address that very challenge.
A marketing persona should include specific details about the fictional customer, including at a minimum:
- Demographics, such as age, gender, salary, education, and family
- Occupation/career details
- Personal goals and values
One final piece of the puzzle that many marketers may want to consider is the customer’s stage in the buyer’s journey. HubSpot has famously defined the buyer’s journey as the process through which all customers go when moving from discovery of your product/service to conversion. This process includes three stages: Awareness (the customer becomes aware of a particular need), Consideration (the customer researches solutions – i.e. products and services), and Decision (the customer purchases your product or service – i.e. converts).
Let’s say your company sells high-end hiking boots. A persona for one ideal customer might describe Jessica, a 30-year-old single Los Angeles resident. Jessica works as an executive assistant in the entertainment industry making $60,000 per year. She has recently started hiking for recreation and is interested in purchasing her first pair of hiking boots. She likes her job, which requires her to present herself well and keep up with trends, so she values both quality and style in her purchase.
Your message to Jessica should communicate these values in a way that targets beginners who are still in the consideration phase of their shopping. Save the discussions of complex boot comparisons and updated features, on the other hand, for Tim, a loyal customer, seasoned backpacker, and retiree looking to upgrade his go-to boots as he prepares to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
Why Are Marketing Personas Important?
Marketing is about meeting audiences’ needs profitably. As you can see in the examples above, marketing personas help you meet customer needs by more fully defining who those customers are or could be. When you can put a name, age, and range of interests and experience to a customer, you can better illuminate their values and get a clearer picture of what that person needs from your product, service, or marketing strategy.
So personas help you define and understand your audience… but why is that so important? In short, if you don’t understand who your audience is, you can’t understand their needs. If you don’t understand their needs, you can’t meet them – let alone profitably.
By defining your ideal customers’ needs, marketing personas help marketers use time and energy more efficiently and, ultimately, create better products and services. Marketing personas are important in all of the following tasks:
- Refining ad campaigns
- Content creation (including email campaigns and blog posts)
- Social media marketing (such as on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn)
- General marketing problem-solving
- Efficient and well-aligned product development
Tips for Harnessing the Power of Personas in Your Marketing Strategy
Be as detailed as possible. The more details you include, the clearer the picture of your ideal customer will be. A clearer sketch helps you both define and solve more problems for this customer, and refine your message to communicate how you can do so.
Consider the customer’s stage in the buyer’s journey. As we mentioned above, you should tailor your message to the buyer’s stage in engaging with your product or service. Someone who is still researching solutions needs a different message than someone who has already converted, or even someone who is just well-versed in industry terms and concepts.
Use templates. While each buyer persona is a unique sketch, you should standardize your process for developing personas by using or creating persona templates. This helps ensure you always include the same level of detail across campaigns, products, and departments, ensuring a more profitable use of time and resources.
We Can Help You Help Your Audience
At Bloom Ads, we’ve made it our life’s work to help clients craft the right messages for the right audience. Have questions about buyer personas, why marketing personas are important, or just how to get started on a successful marketing campaign? Explore our advertising services today.