Strategic Marketing Plan Element #5: The Power of Personas
Traditionally, a table has four legs. From some viewpoints, however, only two or three are visible. Like table legs, important personas for your marketing plan might prove similarly invisible if you don’t do the groundwork. Make sure you see “all four legs” of possible persona profiles, whether that turns out to be two or 22 different profiles, for your particular product.
Ask yourself the right questions about who your customers are. Doing so will help shape marketing decisions that have impact and power. Answering important questions using existing data is good. Mixing in some social media response is better. Enriching the data with information from real-life conversations is as good as it gets.
How do you create pinpoint personas? Ask yourself these questions:
- Demographically, who are your customers? Some personas will be logical and obvious, but others may emerge as you work through this list. To build solid personas, identify things like age, gender, geographic location, education, income, career, and household size.
- What are their lifestyles? How they spend their time and money is important, as are their needs, wants, hobbies, and interests.
- Is their job or position an important factor in the purchase of your product? Many B2B transactions might find this information critical to a marketing plan. Additionally, listing pain points and challenges might be strategic moves for many B2B and B2C transactions. If these are appropriate, absolutely add them to your persona profiles.
- Who are the influencers? It is important to focus on the primary purchaser, but don’t discount the influence of other household members for particular products.
- What are their goals? Consider Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and consider where your product fits on the scale, how it will affect the decisions of buyers, and how your approach will vary.
- How do they interact with your company? Determine whether they be totally mobile, or not at all.
- What do they want, or need, from your company? It might be different for each persona, depending on age, gender, and status.
Here are the personas Big Wood Ski is using to guide its strategic marketing decisions. Bex and Caleb have collected good information from direct interaction with their customers, combined with data gleaned from formal market research resources. They have collected data from SnowSports Industries America and the ISSA (International Ski and Snowboard Association), among others, to help them figure out their market. Consulting similar agencies appropriate for your product or industry is smart, and helpful. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
After you’ve had a look at the Big Wood Ski examples below, grab a template and fill in your own. As you begin to think it through, you may be surprised. Your target market may be a little different than you thought, and you may discover a few untapped consumer groups that earn you additional business.
If you’ve got questions or comments, let’s talk. Do you have stories of what has worked, or not worked, for you in the past? Feel free to post on my Adobe blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook pages. I’d like this marketing plan to be as helpful and useful as possible. Your input is key. Thanks for reading, and get ready for next week: The Buyer’s Journey.