How do I Create a Marketing Persona?

Creating imaginary customers can help you build your brand. Here's how to do it.

By Rog HowPosted in Ideas

A marketing persona is an imaginary customer who represents a group of potential customers who behave in a similar way. These are also sometimes termed ‘buyer personas’. If you want to find out a little more about marketing personas, or why they are useful, read about them here.

So how do we decide on our customer groups? There is no hard and fast rule as businesses and their customers are so diverse, but the overall methods are the same: assumptions, statistics, observation and research.

Assumptions

First we can make assumptions based on what we already know or what we can guess about the sorts of different buyers we have. If we sell all kinds of men's shoes, we can assume that our customers will be men, But we can also assume that some might be buying smart shoes for work and some buying shoes for sport.

Statistics & Observation

We can look at stats, or observe customers behaviour to help inform, confirm or contradict our assumptions too. We might discover that actually there is a proportion of women buying shoes for their other halves. Not immediately obvious but makes sense.

Research

Once we have segmented our customers we can then test our groups further with research. Research can also be used to flesh out customer profiles. It can help us find out more about what makes them tick, as well as how and why they are buying.

How do we do this? Using customer, or potential customer surveys. This is very effective as you can tailor the questions of the survey to make sure you cover all the areas that you want to know about your customers. You can look at their demographics, their reasons to buy and what media they consume. This is all invaluable information, as they can then dictate your brand and marketing strategies. If they read X publication, you know you should advertise there to attract more custom, for example.

A very poignant question to ask is around their hopes and fears, as you can also use this to inform strategy and address a customer’s main pain points. If a man’s main hope when shoe shopping is that there is loads of choice, you can address that with more product lines. If his main fear is whether his wife will like his choice of shoe, you can have staff suggest taking a picture for him to text for her opinion.

Once you’ve quizzed some representatives of your assumed target groups, you can collate the information and build a ‘Top Trumps’ style profile for each group, and add in any that you hadn’t considered. Include as much information as you can to make a complete picture.

You now have a set of imaginary customers who represent your core buyers. You should use them to test every piece of branding, marketing content or stock buying decision. Imagine they are your panel of judges and you need to win over the most influential of them with each decision you make for your business. Sometimes you may be talking to one of them in particular and sometimes to them all, but as long as you keep talking to them, your real customers will keep coming back!

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