Who doesn’t love a good story? Perhaps you have the latest paperback tale of a jilted wife faking her disappearance in order to exact revenge on her husband. Maybe you prefer the coming of age story of two star-crossed lovers, who finally in their elder state, take their last breaths together, arm-in-arm. Even in the “real world,” we love the story of someone overcoming the largest obstacles to follow their dreams to create a business or brand that becomes a global phenomenon.
The common thread in whatever story that grips us are the characters. The characters bring us closer to the story because we identify with their motivations, challenges, goals, or perhaps look at them in an aspirational way. Simply put, characters help you connect.
It stands to reason that if audiences connect because of characters, then characters can also be used to connect back to your audience. This is where characters evolve from the brain of an author or screenwriter to your savvy marketer.
Marketing Personas: Characters that help you connect
Buyer personas, also known as marketing personas, are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research, interviews, and real data about your existing or target customers. These personas capture the demographics, behaviors, motivations, problem areas, and professional/personal drivers of your ideal customer. Knowing this information helps your business create content, products, and the type of customer service culture needed to not only attract new customers, but maintain and develop customer loyalty.
Really, it just makes sense. If you were putting all of your resources towards marketing campaigns that weren’t targeting the right people, sales would be unaffected. Companies have become customer centric by implementing practices to study their ideal demographic and their purchasing behavior. Once the research has been compiled to create a buyer persona, marketing efforts are able to become much more effective and targeted towards the ideal niche that the company wants to attract.
The Power of the Personas: Why bother?
If someone told you this was a piece of cake, they probably aren’t doing it right. So, if it takes so much time and effort, then why bother? Once you have established your persona, everything about the personal brand of your business can be angling towards the perceived tastes of your ideal consumer. For example, an apartment located next to a university would likely be much more successful if they were to style their marketing efforts, from web design and amenities to social media posts and messaging, with a college student in mind.
The persona can be helpful as well with content marketing and social media as the company can formulate content based off of trends in the buyer persona’s interests. Use the buyer persona to highlight the features you offer that best meet the lifestyle requirements of your target market.
Creating Personas: How do you do it?
Buyer personas are comprised with a complete understanding of your ideal consumer’s demographic background as well as their purchasing behavior. Thus, in creating your persona it is imperative that you discover what industry your primary consumer is in and what position they likely hold in their field of expertise. Other details such as the size of the company they likely work for as well as its geographic location are necessary as well. Regarding your persona’s behavior, it is critical to obtain a thorough understanding of what the problem is that your consumer might solve with your product, the knowledge that your consumer will already have of your product, and the expectations the client may have for your product’s performance and features.
Going through this process may seem tedious, but it gives you the ability to humanize your audience and work more efficiently to give them the experience that they most highly value as a customer. Using the buyer persona method optimizes the environment to provide content that will hit the nail on the head of your consumer’s needs.