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Creating Customer Personas

FacesWhether you are printing your marketing and collateral materials using offset or digital, whether your documents are static or variable, customer personas are a critical piece of the marketing puzzle. What is a customer persona? It is a “bucket” into which you place your customers or prospects that guides the messaging used in your communications.

Let’s say you’re a software marketing company.

You know that your best customers tend to be:

  • middle managers,
  • quality control managers,
  • and IT staffers.

You create a persona, or theoretical personality model, for each bucket that describes not just their demographics (age, gender, vertical market, company size, department size), but also what makes them tick, where their pain points are, and what motivates them to make purchases. This lets you craft messaging, not around impersonal data, but around the needs and personalities of real people.

The QC manager and IT staffer will have different motivators and personas. Seeing them as people—personas—helps you craft more effective messaging that connects with them in a way that is most likely to convert to a sale.

Let’s look at theoretical Middle Manager in Vertical Market A.

Customers or prospects fitting their persona might be:

  • male or female
  • 35–45 years old
  • in an income bracket of $80,000–$100,000

Based on feedback and customer research, you know that middle managers are:

  • upwardly mobile and driven to prove their value to the organization
  • struggling with legacy systems, turnover in their departments, and lack of resources for training

Based on this persona, you can craft messaging that touches on real stress points, presents concrete solutions, and prompts purchase decisions.

Example 1: A traditional marketing approach WITHOUT using personas might be:

“Dear Karla, our software will help you increase the productivity of your department and churn your work out more quickly. Talk to us about how our award-winning software can work for you!”

Example 2: Using knowledge from your personas, your NEW approach might be:

“Dear Karla, ready to tear your hair out with legacy systems? Need to transition to a new system but can’t find the time? Let our professional, on-site training and 24-hour tech support help . . .”

Use personas to change the way you think about talking to your customers!