Often, marketing content comes across as self-centered. You know a lot about your products and services, so it’s much easier to talk about your business because you don’t know much about your audience. But effective marketing speaks to and about your ideal client. One way to ensure your content is effective is to create marketing personas so that you thoroughly understand this audience.
What Are Marketing Personas?
Marketing personas, also known as buyer personas, are fictional depictions of your ideal customer representing your target audience. These characters are based on market research and internal data about your existing customers.
Personas have pain points, budgets, job titles, and, most importantly, problems your business can solve. They also include names, genders, ages, and educational backgrounds. If these personas are going to inform a B2B marketing strategy, then specifying their decision-making abilities and spot on their organizational pecking order is also a good idea.
The Value in Creating Buyer Personas
Personas help sales teams and marketing make beautiful music together by having everything from your social media content to sales collateral resonate with your audience.
These nifty thought experiments give shapeless ideas and data form and function. Personas allow you to design seamless marketing strategies, empathize with your target customer, and close deals.
This isn’t just brainstorming with extra steps. If you take persona writing seriously, it can help elevate your understanding of your target audience, dial in on your product and value proposition, and sharpen your messaging.
Persona Marketing in Three (Not So) Easy Steps
Research Phase: Interview and survey existing customers, pick the brains of your sales team, compile hard data, then embody this information in a persona. Outsourcing to a marketing agency is a sure-fire way to do this step right.
Application: Once the persona is written, apply it to every aspect of your branding, from website copy to sales pitches. All external messaging needs to be informed by the persona.
Reassessment: Track leads, booked calls, and website visits to gauge successful persona marketing. Use A/B testing on CTAs, subject lines, and brand voice to compare the value of different approaches and apply your findings to future campaigns.
Things to Consider When Developing Personas
Correlation Doesn’t Always Equal Causation
Mark Twain said, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Don’t be afraid of statistics, but don’t trust them, either.
Analytics might flag shared characteristics about buyers that are coincidences and have no bearing on turning potential customers into paying customers. For example, executives buying your accounting software may all have the same position, but the fact that they don’t have an accounting team is what holds significance.
Analytics can’t show this unless you think to ask your customers why they made their purchase. Getting this valuable information begins and ends with personas.
Believe it or not, there are interested and eager customers you don’t want to target because they’re not worth walking through the sales process, or your solutions won’t solve their problems. Anti-personas are eerily similar to your ideal customer except for some critical attribute.
For example, they might have the wrong budget, be in the wrong industry or region, or otherwise be a mismatch for your product or service. Creating anti-personas can help you avoid wasting time and resources targeting near matches that ultimately won’t provide enough ROI.
Don’t limit yourself to one persona for your target audience because you have more than one ideal customer – at least, I hope so! Instead, get strategic about targeting different segments of your potential customer base.
For example, let’s say you sell apples to industrial bakeries, so you create personas of executives of baked goods manufacturers to understand their needs and fine-tune your approach. You also sell to cider breweries. These customers have distinct pain points and buying patterns, so it’s wise to create personas for both of them.
Does creating personas seem like a giant, complicated undertaking?
It certainly can be, but Clash Creative can help. We offer effective persona-building services to make sure your content resonates with your audience and generates leads.