Most of us in marketing communications use terms such as “target markets,” “stakeholders” or “members” to define our audiences. We think we know who they are, but how we connect with audiences has changed significantly in our mobile tech world and we may be struggling to reach them. One problem may be that we haven’t gone deep enough into figuring out who our audience really is, what they do, how they act, what choices they make and what they need. A key piece in the communication planning process that we’ve found useful is developing or creating “marketing personas”.
The persona in psychology is the face or mask we present of ourselves socially to the outside world. The marketing persona is a fabrication or (invented) face, if you will, of characteristics of our target audience based on a combination of real life research and analysis. It allows us to describe WHO the customer is and what their behavior is. Creating personas provides insights for us to tailor our messages for the best response.
There is a difference between target audience and marketing persona. A target audience identifies a broad category, such as “High School”. A marketing persona goes deeper by identifying more specific behaviors, such as habits, wants and needs of the of the individuals in the target audience.
Visualizing targets and personas looks something like this:
According to Hubspot’s Lauren Sorenson: “Having a well-defined persona can help you build a better marketing plan by helping you target your marketing campaigns and offers to the right groups of prospective consumers. At the end of the day, personas put a face to your customer and help you identify their needs and wants.”
This step will help you create a more accurate and detailed picture of your prospects and their behaviors. With this information, you are able to develop a marketing message that’s speaks their language and engages them in conversation and relationship building. It is that foundation of trust that is the new currency of relationship marketing.
Next week we’ll discuss How to Sketch a Persona Profile.