If you really want to get to know your customers, walk a mile in their shoes. Not ready to lace up your sneakers for that tall task? Consider penning a persona instead. Before you start this process, please make sure the time you are spending will result in REAL value to your company or your project. We have seen an over use of personas that end up being more busy work that real research. If you are going to do this, do it right and realize that it will take some time. 

Businesses can mine existing data to craft a short story about a customer to unlock new ways to present messages, products, and services to gain better leads and increased sales. Research shows that 71% of companies who have personas exceed prospect and revenue goals and 36% of companies reported shorter sales cycles. Again, exploring and using the data you’ve found is critical. We’ve seen quite a few companies go through the work of building personas and take the additional time to think the process through and apply the data to real customers.

Persona Defined
A persona is a summary or fictional story of someone who represents your target audience. It documents the specific characteristics of your best customers beyond their buying history.

How to create a persona
Using customer and product data, write a few sentences describing key aspects of a model customer’s lifestyle that add personal context to the basic demographics of age, income, education, and location.

Here are seven key components of a customer’s persona and examples for each:

  1. Roles- Single-mom, teacher, accountant, uncle, kid chauffeur, student, volunteer, salesperson, manager, retiree, or go-to co-worker.
  2. Goals — A better job, more time with family, more confidence, financial security, service to the community.
  3. Challenges — Making ends meet, juggling responsibilities, health concerns, getting kids through college.
  4. Frustrations — Has trouble finding affordable products and services that she can access after she works all day and runs the kids.
  5. Interests — Children’s activities, reading, sports, art, family time, binging Netflix, volunteering.
  6. News — Local news (traditional TV, radio, or newspaper), national online news sites, social media, news digests like The Morning Brew or The Skimm.
  7. Communication preference/use — Email, direct mail, text, phone, in-person, social media.

How to find the data to build persona components:

After gathering the data for a customer persona, add a catchy name, brief description, and a stock photo to bring the story to life. Here’s an example using basic demographics and sample data components from above:

Mama Michelle
A single mom on the move personally and professionally.

Michelle is 38, has an estimated income between $40,000 and $55,000, has completed some college, and lives in a rural area. She is a single mom, works at a medical office, and hopes to get a promotion to gain confidence and be an example for her two kids who she transports to and from soccer and school activities. In her limited free time, Michelle checks Twitter for news; Instagram and Facebook to catch up with friends and family; and Pinterest for dinner recipes. She watches Netflix late at night while checking emails after the kids go to sleep.

The power of a persona is using the information to drive marketing and product decisions from “Mama Michelle’s” perspective. Before launching a new campaign, ad, or product line, businesses might ask:

“What would Michelle need?”

“Would Michelle see this?”

“What image or message would resonate with Michelle?”

“Will this product be accessible to Michelle at the time she needs it?”

“Could Michelle afford this?”

Poole Communications can help you dive into the data and develop personas to connect with your customers’ perspectives to make more impact with your marketing.

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Research

Research: http://www.itsma.com/importance-of-developing-effective-personas/Buyer Personas - 33 Mind-Blowing Stats - Boardview
Buyer Personas drive sales. Early adopters of Personas are showing a significant boost in ROI, and we've collected a…boardview.io

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