Marketing personas under the microscope
It’s pointless to develop a marketing strategy without really understanding your target audience, who they are, what their goals are, what challenges they face and how they learn about new products, applications, technologies or services.
By knowing your audience it will help you develop an on point brand ‘look and feel’ that resonates and appeals to your target demographics. It will also help you create and deliver relevant and engaging content through the most effective and efficient channels.
A marketing persona is a model that describes your typical or target customer, based on detailed audience research. Constructing a marketing persona allows you to personalise your marketing on a large scale by humanizing core target groups of your customer base.
The idea is to create a profile of your ideal customer as if they are a real person, so that you can create targeted marketing messages to them and execute through the best channels . These messages should use the right tone of voice and address the specific needs, wants and challenges of your customer.
Creating marketing personas will not only help improve your marketing messaging and reach, but will also put the customer at the heart of the business. In other words, marketing personas help improve your overall customer experience.
There are lots of examples of marketing persona templates out there, each template contains various fields to fill in to help you build up the overall profile of your persona. The fields you define for your persona templates should be specific for your business and the way in which you commercially transact, for example creating a consumer persona may be a very different exercise to creating a B2B persona.
When developing a B2B persona there may be less of a focus on psychographic traits and more focus on buyer insights, understanding what factors and influences are involved in the purchase decision making process.
It’s very easy to over complicate persona builds, so keep your initial personas really simple with core profile information and key buying journey insights, focusing on customer goals, pain points, how they learn about and evaluate new products.
Once you have determined the fields for your persona template it’s time to start collecting the key information to fill them out.
How to build out your marketing personas
The first step is to research. A good initial starting point is to undertake a web search. There’s a large amount of information on the internet in the form of demographic data and surveys.
It is important not to take all of the data verbatim, however you can pressure test data against your own customer insights. Take a look at the following links and see if your agree with what the data is telling you. How does this data match up with how you view the life science and research market place?
You can build and collect your own data using numerous different methods.
Learn about the customers that are already buying from you. If you have already built a customer base then review the data you have on these customers.
Some of the most valuable data you can use when building marketing personas will be gathered by speaking with and interviewing customers and future prospects, either in person or over the phone. You could then supplement that information with email surveys or online forms on your website. Companies such as Polymorphic Marketing are happy to perform VOC surveys, interviews, focus groups and customer feedback projects for you.
Review your website and social media analytics. Your website analytics will not only supply you with location and demographic information, but also what keywords and source leads that are used to find you.
Perform social media research. Use social media listening tactics to discover what questions potential customers are asking, what challenges they face, what they are interested in and what they engaged with (both professionally and personally).
What is your competition doing? Who do they target their marketing at? What channels do they use? What messaging have they adopted?
Engage with journals and publications. Most scientific journals and publications supply media kits to potential clients, these kits usually contain some really great demographic data about their circulation (check out this example in The Scientist Magazine - Media Kit). This data can be useful when building your persona profiles, however, it becomes even more useful when choosing which publications to advertise with - once you have built your personas you will be able to cross match against target demographics serviced by each publication.
Don’t work in a marketing silo. Work with your customer service, sales and product management teams when building your personas. Each group will have their own valuable market and customer knowledge and insights. Remember that creating personas will put the customer at the heart of your business and help improve your overall customer experience.
Once you have completed your research and started to fill in your persona templates, begin to think about how your business can help each persona and start to develop your messaging. You will need to stop thinking about your product in terms of just features and determine the benefits both your product and company can offer each of your personas.
By building marketing personas you will be able to adopt the correct tone of voice, addressing the specific needs, wants and challenges of each of your personas.
Using targeted marketing messages and through the best channels you will be able to increase your engagement and conversion rates, greatly improving your overall marketing impact.