Developing Personas

Modeling Your Buyers to "Get Closer" to Them

Developing Personas - Modeling Your Buyers to

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How will you focus on a particular customer?

Tamil is the marketing manager for a homeware store, and his boss has asked him to plan a campaign for a new range of garden products. So, he starts working on tried-and-tested strategies that he "knows" work, such as radio and magazine adverts, direct mailings, and store-front displays.

However, Tamil and his boss are stunned when the campaign falters and their competitors start winning market share. Tamil knows that people still want to renovate their homes and rejuvenate their gardens, but his customers are flooding through his competitors' doors. He isn't sure what's gone wrong, so he starts analyzing his competitors' actions.

He discovers that these stores are focusing their offers on specific customer personas, and consumers are "voting with their feet" as a result, because they feel that Tamil's competitors understand their needs better. Tamil would have benefited from developing customer personas himself, and using them to shape his marketing campaign, so that he could target his efforts more effectively at particular groups of buyers.

In this article, we'll look at what personas are, and how they can help you to develop an in-depth understanding of your customers. We'll also explore how you can use them to communicate how your products can meet your customers' specific needs.

What Are Personas?

Personas are also known as "pen portraits" and "customer avatars," and they are "archetypes" of the people you want to buy your product or service. They are models of your individual customers – both current and potential – and they illustrate how these people behave. Personas can show why a customer may be interested in a product, and demonstrate how, where and when he or she might interact with it.

Personas are based on research and data, rather than on preconceptions or suppositions, but they also include more than just facts. Like our example below, they have names, personalities and faces, and they have real needs, wants, likes, dislikes, opportunities, and problems.

Figure 1 – Example Persona

Developing Personas


Why Develop Personas?

Organizations can use personas to gain an intuitive, in-depth understanding of their customers.

Personas express how your customers think, what motivates them, and why they buy certain products. They allow you to engage directly with, and influence, people's decision making so that, in time, they may buy more and even be prepared to pay a higher price. For example, cloud solutions company Skytap® was able to boost its sales leads by as much as 124 percent by using personas....

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