Every marketer should take a moment and consider who their audience is. Who are they trying to reach? How? And why? You might have a huge and diverse consumer base to look at, but you can break them down into segments. Then based upon the characteristics of each segment, you can create a sketch, or a persona, that stands in for that segment. They act as their representative and avatar when you draw up your content marketing plans and strategies.
By creating a marketing persona, you can view that whole segment as a person and put yourself in their shoes. You can ask what keeps them up at night and what pain points do they experience as a part of their job. By breaking a whole segment down into a persona, you can see them more as a person, whom who deserves your empathy and help, rather a huge, disparate group. You have the product and services they need, and you can focus on properly reaching them with that message and connecting with them.
Essentially, a marketing persona allows you to create content that is both relevant and useful to that segment.
What, however, goes into crafting a marketing persona?
As with almost everything that is marketing related, it comes down to data. The more you know about your audience the better you can craft marketing personas that represent them and can help you create content that can solve their business problems.
Parse through the data you have collected on your prospects and customers. What are their:
That is all more general information. If you have any data on your customers’ hobbies, the blogs they read, the news sources they prefer, the types of content that better engage them, how good they are with certain types of software, and the social media channels they use, it can all create a stronger persona.
Once you have put all that information together into a sketch of a person, ask yourself:
The answers to those questions can all mix and stir together into what your marketing message to that persona is. Quite simply, your message should tell them what you can do for them, how it solves their problems, and how they benefit.
The next step then involves you making your pitch to them. What is the best way you can convey your message to a persona? How can you reach, connect, and engage them? Each persona is going to be slightly different, but the data will indicate the best way to go about marketing to each.
You might wonder just how many personas you should create. Most generally consider three to five personas to work well, as they would cover your whole audience but also allow you to dive deeper into specificities about each segment via their persona.
Here are two persona examples: Mary the Marketer and Chad the CMO.
They both work together. Chad is Mary’s boss, and he is the one who signs off on any invoice and makes the final decision on what the company involves itself with and what software, solutions, and services it will invest in.
Mary, though, works with marketing software every day. She’s down in the trenches, crafting content strategies and organizing campaigns. She knows what software works best for her and her team. She knows the problems they encounter every day, and a solution that helps with that speaks to her.
Chad trusts Mary and values her opinion. If she tells him about a solution that would do a world of good for her and her team, Chad is going to listen. Mary then is an influencer. She influences decisions, because of her knowledge and experience.
Of course, Chad might be interested in solutions too, but might not have the time with his responsibilities to look at solutions. On occasion he may. In fact, he might actually bring a solution to Mary to garner her opinion on it.
Still, certain marketing campaigns might be better served focusing on Mary more than Chad, she being an influencer they may have a better chance of reaching and engaging. A marketing campaign shouldn’t shut the door on any marketing persona, but they need to know where to properly and more wisely invest their time. In this instance, it would be mostly with Mary the Marketer and influencer but not always.
If there is a way to reach Chad as well, however, go for it. Keep all your options open, but bear in mind that he will have a different perspective and different concerns than Mary, so content should be better geared toward that end.
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Michael McNichols is a Senior Content Manager for Oracle Digital Marketing. He has over ten years of experience in professional writing and has been widely published.