We are Christina and Peter Pilarski, founders and leaders of CIPR Communications.
Marketing personas – have you heard of them? If so, how much time you spend thinking about them and factoring them into your marketing strategies? In our view, personas are the most important part of marketing, and one which many companies pay the least attention to. To come up with your target persona, you want to come up with the answer to the questions “Who do you want to buy your product?” or “Who is your ideal client?”
It’s more than just your target audience
We often find that when we start talking about personas, clients bring the discussion around to the idea of target audience. Personas are so much more than that, however. When you develop a target persona, you take the general characteristics of your audience and distill them into a specific character – an imaginary (or possibly real) person who embodies all of the attributes that you want in your ideal customer. Once you have developed that character, you have a much stronger idea of how to reach them and what kinds of marketing communications are going to resonate with them and draw them to your brand.
“The right person at the right time with the right message”
Somebody once said that marketing is really easy: all you have to do is reach the right person at the right time with the right message. Of course, we all know that’s easier said than done. However, developing an accurate and well-drawn persona can enable you to do just that. It makes the marketing team’s job much easier and increases its chances of developing a marketing strategy that will reach the right audience.
How do you create your target persona?
A lot of research goes into developing a target persona. There are a number of ways to do it: you could start by consulting your sales team. While this is a great starting point, there are likely to be a few biases and blind spots among even the most successful and well-established salespeople. You can also speak to your customers, get to know them better, find out a little more about what makes them tick. What do they value? What media do they consume and how? Take it a step further and identify a potential client – an ideal customer that would really love to win over – and go and speak to them.
Surveys and focus groups can help, provided they are able to gather the kind of detailed and accurate data you would need to build your target persona.