When you’re creating your marketing campaign(s) you probably find yourself creating some semblance of “persona” to represent your customers. Whether it’s knowing your “best customers” and trying to find more of them, simply having key SME sales support focused on different industries, this is, in part an homage to the notion of persona.
Personas are representative archetypes, which models behavior. In psychology, archetypes are used to model various norm and atypical behavior. In the design world, personas are used to model usage behavior. In the business world, buyer personas are used to model buying behavior. – Tony Zambito
But let’s say we want to get a little more formal with the personas, how would that look? How can the benefit us beyond helping us develop different SEO, sales presentations and direct mail? (although those are good starts!)
For the most part you need to follow a couple easy steps:
- ANALYZE YOUR CUSTOMER AND PRODUCT DATA
Pull your sales records for the past 14-24 months and sort it according to profitability. And ask yourself some questions:
- Who is buying your most profitable product?
- What type of businesses are they?
- What do they have in common?
- Are they buying it at certain times of the year?
- Are they repeat clients?
- STUDY UP ON THE COMPETITION
Make a list of your top 3-5 closest competitors and again ask yourself the critical questions. Social Media, Blogs, Web sites, etc. are all easily accessible and great places to learn the following
- What are they saying to customers?
- How often are they talking to customers using their blogs and or social media?
- Who does it seem like they are talking to most?
- Are those the people you want to talk to?
This simple exercise should give you a good understanding of who make up your “personas.” Now you can start to use that information to craft your product development efforts.
Step 1. Take the “people” that you find in the two categories above and prioritize them. You probably have only a handful and if you have more you may be too granular. Try to combine them so that you have 2-3 key personas. Of course the more complicated and dynamic your product is (patient education for example) you may have dozens of personas. If so you probably better enlist the resources of a highly skilled-market researcher and content development manager to help.
Step 2. Put yourself in the shoes of these customers. What helped those customers choose your product over the competitors? What aided them in choosing your competitors’ widget over yours? Find the marketing messages or product enhancements that you can wrap around this information. For example, if you notice that a one of your key competitor’s blog talks about their success in offering an enhanced or extended implementation schedule or warranty. It’s logical to deduce that at least one of your personas requires more substantial customer service than you’re currently offering. They need more assurance and support, so this needs to become part of your core offering.
Step 3. Measure, Test and Refine. When it comes to marketing messages social media and online marketing offer great ways to test your marketing messages almost in real time. You can immediately see which posts get shared or liked — which products resonate. Your web page can include varying text based on the search engine terms your customer used to find your site. You’ll see trends as to how people are coming to your site, you can also begin to attach sales data to those initial trends. Over time you’ll begin to learn which personas are coming to you from which vehicles. But personas can be most beneficial to your product development efforts — and that generally means market research. Focus groups and usability studies can help confirm that you’ve created products for each persona.
Creating personas is a easy way to help companies understand their customers and to organize your marketing plans. It also sets up an easy way to measure the effectiveness of your customer data and your campaigns, and as we all know, what gets measured, gets improved! Good luck, marketers!
Leave a comment below with any successful persona development!