You can’t find a complete sentence spoken by marketers without the target audience being one of its components. Everyone talks about him, talks to him, and appeals to him, but do marketers really know this audience they are talking about? Who is he? What are his challenges and fears, what are his motives for buying, what are his qualities? How he can be reached, what and on what marketing channel he spends his time. Fortunately, you can learn more than this about your target audience through what is called a buyer persona. What are they and how do you use them to market your product?
Defining the customer’s personality
The customer persona is an imagined model of one of your customers that expresses the characteristics of a segment of your target audience and shows their patterns of behavior and motivation to purchase. This representation is based on data and information that you can obtain from your current customers or those you want to target in the future.
The personality of the customer helps marketers to weave marketing messages that address their current (and potential) audience exclusively, through an accurate understanding of the needs of the target audience and identifying their motives for purchasing. Its benefit does not depend on marketing only, but includes all aspects of business development to help companies develop their products/services, to meet the needs of target customers and give them the best user experience they can get.
The importance of the customer’s personality in enhancing marketing efforts
Some entrepreneurs may be negligent about doing customer persona research because they think they already know their target audience and don’t need to do more research. Some would argue that their audience is too wide. In fact, the secret of distinguishing successful companies lies in identifying a specific audience and targeting it exclusively. Simple logic says that if you decide to target everyone, then you are not targeting – in fact – anyone.
If you ignore the unique qualities of your existing audience, you risk exposing your company to consequences similar to what happened with Ron Johnson of JCPenney, who decided to change his coupon-based sales system to “everyday low prices” and maintain it. It was only a month after he took over his new role as CEO of the company, and sales then collapsed within a few months.
Ron states that the reason for this failure was his lack of understanding of his clients’ needs. No evidence of this is the famous story of GAP when it decided to redraw its brand identity to attract a youth audience, ignoring the desires of its actual audience. This caused a huge uproar, and they were forced by the great discontent of their current customers to return to the old logo in less than a week, content with losing the money they spent creating the new identity.
The marketing benefits of embracing customer persona in marketing strategies have proven and continue to be very effective. NetProspex published a study stating that customer persona results increased website visit time by up to 900%, and increased return on marketing investment by 171%. Relatedly, 72% of executives believe budgets for customer understanding are too low, and 45% admit companies have a limited understanding of how to interact with customers digitally. Despite the bleakness of the previous numbers, it is not hidden from any smart person the benefits that he can reap, if he takes the initiative to understand his customers in light of this state of indifference.
Steps to create a customer persona
Your target audience may be specific to a distinct segment of consumers, so if you sell sports shoes, then your target audience is in this case; Sports practitioners without others. But if you are selling to a more diverse audience, it is useful in this case to divide the audience into main segments, as these segments represent similar entities, for example: the target segment in Saudi Arabia and the target segment in Egypt.
Within each segment, you can divide the audience into groups of people who have one style or experience, for example: cultural or social level, or according to age. You can divide your audience into millennials and pre-millennials, and then create a “customer persona” for each of them. Familiarizing yourself with these layers will help you discover the exact outputs of the next research phase. And then create a customer personality supported by data and adapted to the nature of each company. The customer’s personality in this case; The last unit that expresses a composite of specific traits that represent your target audience members in real life.
Data collection methods
There are various methods that can be adopted when creating a customer persona, and quantitative analyses come on top of these methods. Because of the digital nature of today’s business world, marketers can easily gain insights into their existing customers by analyzing the behavior of their website visitors.
The information at this stage is characterized as information that draws the framework for your clients. If you know, for example, that your female followers are more on Twitter than your male followers, this may indicate the need to conduct broader interviews with females. The same applies if you know that your followers are from a certain country more than others. This type of demographic data can be obtained by analyzing your audience data on social media as a followerwonk tool for analyzing Twitter followers.
Other forms of data in the quantitative analytics stage are data that you can get internally from your sales force, customer databases, customer ratings, purchase volume, returns, etc. You can also benefit from the technical support team, for example, and anyone who deals with customers in one way or another.
Among the tools that can be used to conduct quantitative research: the Google Analytics tool to learn about visitor behavior, and among the tools that provide you with geographical data relative to the words that visitors search for is the Google Trends tool . In addition to Alexa tools , quantcast and Google Display Planner . You can also conduct a number of surveys that may help you divide the market into main segments of the target audience, and among the tools that are used to conduct these surveys are tools such as: surveymonkey and comscor
While the data here is related to the geographic and demographic backgrounds of your target audience, you can also gain deeper insight into your customers by analyzing what content topics they are attracted to, the amount of organic research, and the times they visit your websites, all of which can give you Deeper traits of your customer’s personality.
At this stage of data collection, the focus is on asking your target customers about the “why” and “how” that stand behind a specific problem in order to know the customer’s journey in interacting with it. At this stage, your main task is to try to explore the prevailing patterns among the different groups of users, and then organize that data and test its validity through analyzes and quantitative research.
There are many methods that lead to this type of data, including: focus groups, which are run by a researcher with a group of respondents, and it is noted here that the outputs of this method may be biased in one way or another to the opinion or perception of those who conduct the meeting and ask questions. One method that also uses what is called; Affinity diagramming is a mental exercise that aims to collect relevant ideas about customers and try to filter them and test them in more than one stage, and this brainstorming process usually lasts for hours.
There is nothing like talking to your target audience, as what you will learn about them from them will lead to a deeper understanding of them than what data and statistics will guide you to, regardless of their size. ( Michael Agard )
Still the most effective method of conducting buyer persona research is the traditional method of interviewing customers. Instead of palm reading and trying to anticipate the problems your customers are facing, you can simply ask them about it. Attention should be paid to formulating the interview questions so that the question does not imply a specific answer or push the client in a direction that proves the point of view of the questioner. On the contrary, the questions should prompt the respondent to express his true opinions, which he actually feels. We can divide the outputs that you want to reach into three main groups, as follows:
- The first group: It is the demographic data and the scientific and social background, such as: age, gender, job role, the city he lives in, marital status, and other identifying questions.
- The second group: of the outputs are those that answer the questions that start with Why? To learn about the motives and reasons behind a certain behavior, in addition to knowing the daily purchasing and consumption habits and how it interacts with the various marketing channels.
- The third group: of the outputs are the answers that contribute in one way or another to identifying the customer’s story, challenges, values, and personal goals in light of the purchase decision-making journey, while necessarily knowing his goals of buying your product and its like.
Draw a customer character
Marketers usually use an avatar of the customer’s personality, naming him as a real person, and displaying information about him through an infographic that facilitates display of data and can be shared with other departments. This contributes to citing and referring to this segment easily in the company’s decision-making processes. On the Internet, you will find many forms that allow you to present your findings. Let’s take the example of the final customer persona for a site that sells a marketing management platform.
Client story: Saud is a young entrepreneur who loves technology and everything related to entrepreneurship, keeps up with everything new in the world of technology, and is an avid reader of MIT technology review. Apple user, loves to listen to podcasts.
Challenges: Saud is trying to advance his start-up project, but he does not have extensive knowledge in the field of marketing. He is usually busy with the daily tasks of developing his business and does not have much time. Therefore, he seeks to obtain the information he wants quickly and from one place, and resists being distracted while searching for the information he wants. He believes in the importance of marketing and prefers to read extensive guides that give him a detailed view of what he needs in his work. He doesn’t have a large marketing budget.
Objectives: Saud is looking for a tool that enables him to manage marketing operations from one place at a limited cost.
Risks of wrong setting of the client’s personality
The benefits companies get from creating a customer persona are endless. The content marketing team may benefit from it in creating more persuasive marketing messages that increase conversion rates, and the marketing team in general will benefit from it in learning about the purchase journey, its stages and challenges, in creating social media content and when launching advertising campaigns.
The developer team will benefit from it in improving the product or service they provide in line with the customer’s desires, and the technical support and customer service team will benefit from it by understanding the customer’s desires and meeting them efficiently. But despite all this, there are some points that should be taken into account, in order to achieve full benefit:
Use the customer’s personality when making a decision
Imagine with me that you have completed a large number of personal interviews with clients, and conducted quantitative research on its diversity, but like other research, you did not put what you found in the context of action. You did not benefit from it in developing your content marketing strategy or in developing your products and services to match the motives and desires of your customers. This may seem illogical, but it is true anyway.
It is necessary here for the marketing team – specifically – to explain its findings to all teams entrusted with making critical customer decisions.
Continuously update the customer’s personality
Like all human beings, motives and desires change constantly and so of course your target audience. You should never blindly trust your own customer persona findings, especially if you don’t keep them up-to-date and ignore other indicators and actual customer reviews! In order to achieve greater benefit in the decision-making process, whether marketing or otherwise, adapting to the changes in the business world requires constantly updating this data to embrace a new segment or to test new motives.
Reliance on a sufficient amount of data
The diversity of the data collection methods that we have previously mentioned in this article will enable you to neutralize your biases that may not be apparent to you. Although ignoring the customer’s personality in absolute harm is well known to anyone, on the other hand, the same damage will be achieved if the results you have reached Misleading and does not truly represent your actual or intended audience.
In conclusion, you can run a company without caring about knowing customers accurately, but you cannot achieve exclusivity in your target market, if your target audience is not clear and you are not well known, and this is in the best case scenario. Perhaps with one decision you make, your company and its efforts will be overthrown because you did not understand what your audience is asking for, and this is in the worst case scenario. The customer personality in its simplest benefits gives you the necessary confidence when making pivotal decisions regarding your product and the audience, leaving you no room to gamble with your money. Share with us your opinion in the comments about the most effective way to identify the customer’s personality?