The Marketing Persona: Building Blocks


The ancient Native American saying “Do not judge a person until you’ve walked two moons in their shoes” captures the thinking behind the marketing persona. Crafting personas requires getting into the heads of our audiences. What keeps them up at night? How do they spend their free time? How do they like to be sold to? What’s their favorite channel of communication? What do they like for breakfast? The more we know about them, the more we understand them and the better we can communicate with them.

Keeping it Simple.

Nancy Schwartz of explains that in developing marketing personas you should limit yourself to three main audiences. Divide your three audiences into no more than three segments each. Define each segment as a group linked by common behaviors, wants and/or needs. This will keep your persona profiles to a manageable number.

Asking Questions.

Here’s a sampling of marketing persona questions we use at Slice.

  • What would be this segment’s age range?
  • How would your segment break down by gender?
  • How would this segment break down by race? (eg. White, Afr. Amer, Latina)
  • What would be this segment’s education level? (eg. College, Graduate studies)
  • What would be this segment’s marital status? (eg. married, single, children etc.)
  • What would be this segment’s social interests? (eg. Golf, sports, opera etc.)
  • What would be this segment’s salary range? (eg. $80,000 + etc)
  • What would be this segment’s job status and/or title? Self-employed, V.P.
  • What would be this segment’s typical work experience be? (eg. 10 yrs, 20 yrs)
  • What would be this segment’s media interests? Where do they like to get their information? (eg. TV, internet, radio, Facebook, Linked In etc.)
  • What would be this segment’s typical buying habits? (eg. recent car, hi end, low end)
  • Where would this segment most likely live? (eg. major city, urban, suburbs, rural etc.)
  • What 3 adjectives would this segment use to describe themselves? (eg. sophisticated, dedicated, hard-working)

There are many other questions you can come up with, but as you can see, crafting a persona involves using a combination of psychographics as well as demographics. Another valuable question might be who in your organization interacts with this target? You can include customer service, membership, marketing, social media, sales etc.

Getting Specific.

When writing your messages, think about what channel your marketing personas use to get information. Do they prefer journals or articles in trade publications or web sites? Do they prefer mobile media? Would they look for influencers at networking meetings or conferences? Allow the personas to drive the method for reaching them. Then your information can be filtered and directed for their attention.

See below an excellent example of a marketing persona profile from Richard Rabil, Jr.  Nice to keep it in the family 😀


Next week we’ll talk about the benefits of using marketing personas.

Dick Rabil, Creative Director at Slice, has been involved in marketing communications for over 30 years. He embodies that rare combination of deep integrated marketing expertise and creative visualization that allows Slice to offer both the strategic direction and implementation of ideas through print, web, mobile and social.
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