Not knowing enough about your customers is the most common problem we see when working with clients to refine their digital marketing strategy.
A deep understanding of your customers is critical in the highly segmented and personalized nature of digital media.
Knowing their ages and gender is one thing, but do you understand their needs, values, lifestyles, behavior, et cetera?
What is a persona?
A target persona is a fictitious description of a customer profile informed by data. It describes their demographics, purchasing motivation, purchase behaviors, media behavior, lifestyle interest, and values.
It is a “best-educated guess” informed by keyword analysis, social listening, customer survey, audience analytics from your paid and owned media, and good old anecdotal life experience.
It is the difference between knowing your customer as “high income, 35 plus male” and “high income, 35 plus male who works in the creative industry with liberal values, who is an avid online shopper, who is really into hip-hop, and treasures mobility in his professional life”.
It is like comparing Lady Gaga and Adele: both are female singers in their 30s, but you can surely appreciate their personas are very different, right?
In digital marketing, you need to understand your customer at a deeper level beyond basic demographics in order to create targeted content that they find useful, packaged with a personality that they can resonate with, thus driving marketing results.
Persona-based messaging increases relevance
In today’s information-overloaded digital world, we need to cut through the noise by being the most relevant, not just the loudest. We must be relevant to our audience’s needs and lifestyle at the right time and place.
Suppose you sell a baby pram, and your target customers are young parents. Instead of thinking of “young parents” as a homogeneous group, it can be broken down into different personas, like sporty parents, parents who travel, first-time parents, etc, each with a different appreciation of your product. The opportunity here is to message your brand and product benefits in a way that is tailored to the specific needs and language of each persona, making each of them feel like you are speaking specifically to them, not just any parents, thus increasing relevance.
Persona informs paid media targeting
To effectively acquire more engagement with your brand with paid media, you must have your interest-targeting right, which means finding an interest-targeting profile that is not so niche the audience reach is too small and not too broad that the interest profile is too generic.
You do this by telling an ad platform as much as you can about your target persona. The more descriptive you are, the more input the algorithm has to work with to find your ideal audience. This is where a well-thought-out persona is critical.
Persona shapes your content strategy
If you are at a loss to come up with content to fill your content calendar, look at your persona’s purchase motivation for inspiration. What problems are they trying to solve with a purchase? How are they evaluating options? What questions are they asking? Compelling content that your personas will find valuable stems from answering these questions.
Getting everyone on the same page
If you gather all the stakeholders of your business and ask them who the target personas are for your brand, you will most likely be surprised by the different answers you get. By aligning everyone’s understanding of your target customers with a well-defined set of personas, the customer-facing aspect of your brand will come across consistently in a way that is relevant to and resonates with your customers.
A clear understanding of your target personas is critical in creating a digitally savvy brand that customers identify with, and avoids wasting time and resources in digital marketing that does not bring results.
For more digital marketing strategy, click here for 4 Digital Marketing Strategy Foundations You Cannot Miss.