A customer persona is a core part of a marketing strategy but why bother creating one and how do you create one that’s actually good?
Let’s take a look.
A. Why bother with a customer persona?
Once you have identified the segments your organisation is best suited to meet the needs of, the next step is to create a customer persona. A customer persona is a snapshot picture of your organisation’s ideal client – the person you really really want as a customer. It’s important to distill who this ‘Persona’ is for several reasons.
1. To better understand your customers
Spending a few hours thinking about the type of people your ideal clients are and then capturing that allows you to really understand who they are, what they want, what they’ll respond to and what they’ll run away from. This understanding is crucial to effective marketing.
2. To be able to do excellent marketing
By the time I have created an in-depth, researched, customer persona with my clients, we really know who our marketing is for. You should be creating your marketing for that person that you have created in front of you – choosing words, images, message, and approaches that they are really going to engage with. Your marketing will significantly improve when you create it ‘for’ a specific persona.
3.To focus your entire organisation
Whether you operate in a business of many people or it’s just you, a customer persona helps to focus everyone. It should be shared with your suppliers eg Graphic Designers, Agencies, PR companies, when you brief them so you can say to them, ‘THIS is the person you have to make this appeal to’. It should be shared internally, so all staff can be looking out for opportunities to learn more about that persona, add to the knowledge about them, and suggest ideas for how to best reach and serve them.
But don’t get complacent…
Customer Personas should be refreshed because people don’t stay static. The past few years have seen huge changes in the way society operates and the Covid pandemic has really changed some people’s lives significantly. As a rule of thumb, update your personas once a year or when there has been a major shift in their world.
B. How to create a persona
The goal of a persona is to create a person in the round so you can develop an effective relationship with them. To create a persona first, you need to ensure you have data about them in three key areas:
You need to adapt the detail in each of these areas according to whether you are marketing B2C (Business to Consumer) or B2B (Business to Business).
These are the basic details that allow you to actually find your ideal client. They typically include detail like:
- Age, Gender, Location
- Status, education
- Job role, job title, job security, job location.
- What are the things you really need to know about them that will help you find them?
- How relevant are these details to you understanding and reaching your persona?
- Do you have enough of their demographic information to be able to conduct some research on them?
These are the behaviours, thoughts and attitudes of your Persona. What are their:
- hopes and fears
- ambitions and dreams
- goals and aims
- attitudes to risk
- attitudes to your product or service
- hobbies and interests.
This is a really important section as your key marketing messages will need to appeal to their psychographic elements eg helping them allay a fear or achieve a goal.
What do you know about them that tells you how they like to be communicated with? You might begin with assumptions here but do back it up with research – either your own or finding others’ research about this group. You need to know:
- Web usage
- Device (desktop, tablet, mobile)
- Offline usage
- Habits and frequency
- Communication preferences including colours, words, tone of voice, images.
What you find out about their communication preferences then becomes the basis of your marketing tactics eg if they like to log in to LinkedIn after work at 19.00 then you need to put the right messages for them on LinkedIn after 19.00
Pull it together and create your Persona
It’s often best to represent your Persona on one page. This makes it easy for team members and suppliers to get an overview of the Persona easily and quickly.
I’ve found some good examples of how to present a Persona but please do adapt this for your organisation.
If you want help understanding who your customers are, then get in touch.
I can help you define who your markets are, the segments (groups) of customers you should be targeting within those markets, and then develop a meaningful customer persona.
Kara Stanford is a Strategic Marketing Consultant based in Hampshire, UK. Contact her to find out more.