The value of personas
for your business or organisation
It will come as no surprise that as a marketing agency we recommend the advantages of visualising. Having a clear picture or outline of something before you start work is always beneficial and especially so when it comes to thinking about your potential customers.
Most business and organisations have a target audience, apart from a few exceptions (thinking of toilet paper here) there are very few products or services that are relevant to all people.
Personas are a core part of any marketing strategy. They take target audiences one step further. They help you to really breakdown into granular detail what your customers actually look like and inform how you should or could engage with them.
A hypothetical travel company for seniors
Let’s use a hypothetical scenario. A travel company who provides international touring holidays for pensioners.
A simple audience profile would look something like the below:
- Age 55-75
- Socio-economic groups A, B + potentially C1
- Suburban and Rural areas
A more detailed persona (or pen portrait) would be much more detailed and look like the following:
Sheila is 57, a retired GP living in Hertfordshire with her similarly retired husband. Her children are adult and left home many years ago. Her interests include gardening, travel and puzzles. She reads The Times, watches BBC4, shops in Sainsburys (sometimes Waitrose) and has been on several international holidays in the last few years.
Persona’s like the example above can be very advantageous and not just for marketing activities.
Below we’ve listed out four of the key ways in which they can help.
Building digital advertising audiences that deliver
To run an effective social media or google digital advertising campaign, you need to be able to build a solid, filtered and appropriately sized audience profile to deliver your ads successfully. Your ad will only ever be as effective as the set up that sits behind it.
The creation of a persona will help narrow down the audience you serve your ads to to, by helping you make informed decisions on what audience categories to include and exclude.
The example persona above would mean that you could effectively include and exclude certain interests in a campaign audience profile. You could exclude things like the types of brands that would not like, the method of getting their news and the supermarkets that they are likely to shop at.
In effect, you can build in digital advertising platforms ads that are highly targeted to your personas
Helping the onboarding of new team members
For anyone new to a company, getting your head around everything is a challenge in the first few weeks especially if it’s a product or service that the new team member isn’t completely familiar with.
A set of personas are a super simple way of helping a new team member to quickly understand who your target audience are. Providing clear visuals can help speed up the onboarding process.
Getting the right tone of voice in communications
We’re all different when it comes to the way in which we communicate but there are some common trends based on categories like age, location, socio economic status etc that can help. The way we would write to a wealthy rural retiree should be completely different to the way in which we communicate with a city-dwelling millennial.
The creation of personas can help to hone your copy. Using the hypothetical example, you can filter all your wording through the lens of would Sheila our retired GP engage with this, would she understand the content or does it need to be reworded?
Being aesthetically pleasing to your customers
Like with wording, the look and feel of an any graphic design can be changed depending on who it’s being targeted at. The use of imagery, colours, size, layouts and fonts can all be adaptable based on the persona(s) that your activity is being targeted to.
Once again you can use Sheila, the retired GP as a hypothetical customer and run your designs by her, asking would she be likely to engage with this?
You’re not fundamentally changing your branding, but tweaking things like campaign materials to ensure that they are relevant and will have resonance.
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