There has never been a tougher time to work in marketing. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and their media consumption is becoming more and more diverse. One generic message to a large audience simply doesn’t work in the age of digital marketing.
But don’t crack out the violins for marketers just yet….! There has never been a more exciting time to be working in marketing – for every complexity there is also an opportunity!
The audiences that you communicate with in a daily basis could be segmented in lots of different ways. But where do you start with this segmentation, and how do I stop before I end up sending individual messages to my audience which will take forever to do? The answer is marketing personas.
The aim of marketing personas is to segment your audience by key demographics, so that you can tailor your communications to the specific audience.
What you should first so is some research. You should identify no more than 5 or so personas to create and they should be differentiated by the key characteristics which are important to your product, service or business – even with a fair amount of marketing automation, 5 is plenty to keep you busy.
You should also consider naming these personas. No this is not fluffy marketing – it is far easier to refer to a persona as ‘Joe’ rather than a 21 year old student, working part time, with concerns over his future employability and the goal of getting a 2:1!
So what demographics should you segment your audience by
- Age – This can be a big factor when it comes to the medium that you communicate with: SnapChat probably not the best to target over 65s.
- Location – If you have an international audience, what language should you use, and what time will you send the communication?
- Gender – Different styles of messages will work better for one gender than another. Also important if you are using an affiliate website to communicate with your audience: does their gender profile match your persona?
- Income – For a lot of products, this is a key factor as you may need a certain income to be able to purchase a product, e.g. automotive, fashion.
- Have they bought before – Depending on your product, the audience may spend a significant amount of time in the research phase, so your communication should differ if they are an existing customer or a potential one. You should also consider the reason why they are buying here: is it driven by necessity, status, etc.
- Personal life – As a dad of a six month old baby boy, it’s fair to say that my priorities have changed over the last year (current aspiration is for a good night’s sleep!). Family life, likes and dislikes for your personas can be tough to draw from data but when they appear, they are particularly useful as many social media adverts can segment by interests.
- Goals – This may sound a little vague but for some products and services, the aspirations of the persona are very important. What are they looking for in life, and contrasting that, what are their challenges?
Marketing personas may feel like you are getting into the fluffier side of marketing, but you could not be further from the truth. Personas can help make your content strategy, email marketing, social media marketing and any communication you send more effective, driving up your return on investment.
Do you have any persona success stories or tips?