The Marketing Persona: 4 Benefits of Using a Persona

I was thinking about how teams prepare to play each other during March Madness. All of them use scouting reports that outline the unique ways a team likes to play. The reports are fairly basic, but some details can stand out for a coach, such as information that a specific player only likes to go to his or her left. This piece of information can become critical knowledge that informs a teams defense during the game, hence determining the outcome.

Marketing Personas function much like scouting reports. They offer key information that could impact your market planning. Here are four ways personas could benefit your business:

1. What they want is what they need. Personalization has been a buzzword for years in business. Little has changed in the desire to keep things one to one. By defining personas, you are demonstrating how well you know your customers, what issues are important to them, what things they want to know, and how they want to be communicated with. Personas give you an edge by keeping your focus on what your customers want and need. This means providing the right content to the right persona at the right time. If there is a hot topic or specific platform your persona has shown interest in, you’re able to set up your communications around those issues.

2. Knowledge is power. Where do your personas like to get their content? TV, radio, print, email, smartphone? As mobile devices proliferate, SMS messages, short newsletters, alerts, and reminders will become more prevalent for your personas. Whatever the channel, whatever the form, making information relevant, simple, and easy to act on will remind your clients that you’re there and you care.

3. We talk the same talk. With persona based marketing, your brand messaging will be consistent yet flexible. You can customize your messages or promotions based on the individual personas and their needs. You’ll also be able to address specific questions each segment has as it aligns with your mission and goals. The internal staff will feel empowered. Over time, this will lead to stronger relationships cemented by trust and loyalty.

4. Better prospects, better members, better advocates. As your understanding of specific personas develops, your message will naturally evolve and attract respondents or members who are the right fit for your organization. They, in turn, will become your ideal member and, eventually, your leading advocates. This will lead to members connecting with members, sharing interests, aligning objectives and building community that assures your organization of long term growth.

Here’s an example of a persona we built recently for an organization promoting a new, mid-level leadership program. Tom is 55 years old, a corporate executive running a mid-sized organization. He’s a sports enthusiast, plays tennis and works out regularly. Tom drives a late model auto, dresses business casual, is comfortable with technology and buys on the high end. He’s married and has two kids in college. He’s worried about long-term company growth in the face of stiff competition. He wants his team to develop better leadership skills to teach younger staff. He’s looking for a program that will help his mid-level managers grow as leaders, but he’s not sure where to find one. It’s particularly important that this program address real-world problems. He’s not looking for more theory, but a program that tackles the same issues he and his team face every day day.

How did developing “Tom” help us? We developed the visuals and messaging of our campaign launch for the leadership program around his needs. Real world was an integral part of the message. Visually we used proven leaders from history that his persona would relate to. We chose well known figures to show that the program we were launching was about real leaders that had tangible success. Having “Tom’s” persona removed the guesswork about our audiences, gave us a clear picture of who they were and led us to developing a specific message to help “Matt” see the value of our program and it’s ROI.

Are you looking for help with your marketing, messaging or branding? Slice is a full-service agency that can help your organization discover what’s possible. A rare combination in the marketplace today, our dynamic process fuses ideas, strategy AND graphics to communicate your cohesive brand and message. How may we help YOU?

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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