Alongside setting clear, measurable objectives, creating a detailed snapshot of your target audience – known as a marketing persona – should be an essential part of your marketing plan. Here’s why…
What is a marketing persona?
A marketing persona is a fictional character that represents the typical needs and motivations of a group/segment of your target audience or customer base. It should be a generalised reflection of the group of people it’s supposed to represent, rather than details of just one specific person.
As a quick example, imagine your business offers pension advice in the East Midlands. A persona for one segment of your audience could be Steve, a 50-year-old married father of two, who lives in his own home and works in the Nottingham area. Steve makes £45,000 a year as a project manager in the IT sector and enjoys golf, cycling and traveling with his family in his free time. He has recently started thinking about his retirement plans and wants to know what further financial provisions are needed for him to continue enjoying his hobbies after he finishes working.
How do marketing personas add value?
Put simply, the more you know your audience, the better you can understand their needs. Marketing personas therefore help inform and shape your marketing strategy and allow you to plan marketing activities that are relevant and valuable to your customers or clients.
Once you understand your audience and their needs, you can more accurately plan the skills and resources required for upcoming campaigns while keeping the personas in mind. For instance, using our above example of Steve, you might think about using imagery in a social media campaign that reflects some of his hobbies. You might also consider which social media platforms Steve is most likely to engage with, for instance opting for LinkedIn over TikTok, and which online and in-print newspapers and magazines he regularly reads, and then tailor your efforts primarily to these.
Thinking about your audience in this way can help create the best possible user experience with focused and targeted messaging.
How to create a persona
When creating a marketing persona, it’s important to delve into as much detail as you can about the particular segment you are looking at. Consider factors such as demographics, lifestyle, motivations and challenges.
Below is an example that we have created, which we often turn to when thinking about our clients’ audience personas. We’ve included a series of questions that we try and answer to help dig deeper into the motivations and challenges that the audiences faces.