The importance of personas in marketing

Tue, 22/09/2020 - 11:27

You're sitting in a boardroom, and your agency starts talking about the target market. To drive home their point, they show you a bunch of graphs. They're the last thing you see before you slip into what is commonly known as a 'boredom coma'.

Imagine a world where your consumer information was packaged in such an easy-to-reference format that it actually became feasible to use for all your marketing activities. Impossible? No, not really.

Welcome to the world of personas 

It's by no means a new world. 

They have been around for nearly 30 years, first introduced by Alan Cooper in his book "The Inmates Are Running The Asylum". It's been a slow burn to get them to be more widely accepted, but in recent years, many agencies and brand strategy teams rely fairly heavily on their marketing personas.

What is a marketing persona? Well, remember all those awful graphs from the first paragraph? If we take those and analyse them, we're going to find a lot of who, what, when, and where questions being answered. Who clicked on a bit of creative on Friday morning while they were at work? It'll all be there in the data. Great! So now we'll just make sure that all our banners go out on Friday mornings to people at work. That'll be effective, right? No.

The one question we haven't answered is “why”. The only way to get that answer is to go beyond the data. Move over graphs; it's time to have a few face-to-face conversations with a digital marketing consulting agency. The data serves as a basis for our questions. For example, we could ask a member of our prospective audience, what were you doing on Friday morning? Maybe the answer will be, "I like to plan my weekends on Friday morning."

All of a sudden, a whole new world opens up. You know that your audience starts planning their weekends on Friday morning. You know that you can change up your creative to talk about weekend planning. You know that you can go beyond targeting people in the workplace. You know that you can now broaden your audience to include people that enjoy leisure activities. All this from asking one question. Imagine you could ask two questions? Even three! The mind boggles.

Naturally, you're going to have to ask a few people the same questions. Gradually a pattern emerges, and when you see that happen, you know you're in a good space.

How do you get all these newfound insights and knowledge across to the people that matter? Do you add it to your snooze-worthy graphs? No.

You amalgamate all your lovely qualitative data into a persona. You make up a person based on your insights, give him or her a name. Write a bit of a story about who this person is, give them some motivations. Talk about their mindsets and lifestyles, and presto, you have yourself a persona. If one persona doesn't accurately portray every insight you've managed to acquire, you can make a second one. Keep going until you've got all your insights covered. If you go beyond six personas you might want to look at how you can rationalise your insights (look for similar insights and collapse them into a single data-point).

Personas are memorable. They have names, and they're far more useful than those hideous graphs. Hand them to the creative team, and they can easily imagine what creative will resonate with which persona. Hand them to the content marketing team, and they'll be able to create tailor-made content for each persona. The list of usefulness goes on and on.

I don't hate graphs it's just th... zzzzz....zzzzz

In conclusion

So, if you want to sit down with me and discuss a seamless, more human-centric approach to your content, our strategy, web development and performance marketing specialists can offer you an holistic service. Get in touch with Rogerwilco, and let’s create some personas!


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