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Nailing your target market through personas

There is no doubt that the noise in the marketplace has significantly increased, making it more and more difficult for businesses to break through the cacophony to reach their audience. It is, therefore, important to be targeted with your messaging, enabling you to directly reach the individuals you want to hear your message.

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers which are developed based on research. The use of insights garnered from customer demographic data, shopping patterns, online behaviour or even just your educated speculation about your customers such as challenges, past behaviour/history.

For example, as a candy store, you may define one of your personas as Kyla, a 10-year-old who loves reading, with mom a teacher and dad a pharmacist. She is fun-loving with many friends and likes watching videos on YouTube. Kyla consistently does well in school and so her parents frequently buy her gifts and sweet treats.

Creating insightful personas helps you to get a purposeful understanding of your customers’ motivations, pet peeves, needs, behaviours, desires, and more. Simply, personas help you to more deeply understand your customers, which allows you to be more targeted with your marketing message, enhance the impact of your marketing and be better able to attract good leads for your business. For example, instead of sending the same e-mails to your entire customer database, you could tailor your messaging based on your persona segments and so people would get content that is more relevant to them.

Here are four tips to help you create your personas:

Get as much data as you can on your customers. Your internal customer records, feedback from your customer service team, sales data, online reviews, and social media comments are just a few of the enablers that provide stories about your customers.

Interview your customers or use surveys to get their feedback on your product/service. Use the insights from the data you have collated to group customers and identify customer behaviour patterns.

Start developing more detailed profiles of your customer groups. Having identified the key target audiences or customer groups, it is important to drill down into specific, individual profiles and research customers to get more personalised information about them. Use your research to identify patterns and common characteristics, which will help to determine profiles of your segments.

Develop and document your personas.

Create your persona by firstly naming him or her. By naming him or her, this profile becomes a real person and will resonate with the target audience. Having done so, picture him/her so it has a face and be sure to document all the key details in the profile.

Test your personas. Now that you have developed your personas, it is useful to test them against your customer segments to ensure that it is a true reflection of your actual customers. If there is a match, then use them to create value. If not, continue refining until you get it right.

When you have created your customer personas, share them in your business and create physical representations so persons are aware of who they are. From your marketing to customer service and sales teams, personas are very necessary so all can be mindful of the customer and seek to create value for them. Remember personas help to inform much of what you will do to drive awareness, reach your customers and keep them.

Without them, it will be difficult to personalise your messages to address their needs, solve their problems and drive them to your business.

Nichole Brackett Walters is a certified professional marketer (PCM┬«) with over 20 years’ experience in strategic marketing development and application. Brackett Walters is a member of the American Marketing Association (AMA). Follow her blog at marketingmoves.net or on LinkedIn .