Nothing is more important for you as a digital marketer than understanding your customers. Without such understanding, you can’t develop content or make your product indispensable. Enter the use of buyer personas. Marketers have a love-hate relationship with them. They know that they need to create and use them, but they find personas difficult to develop.
Creating personas can be tricky. You can’t treat them like lifeless customer profiles that are created once and pulled out only for quarterly meetings. Buyer personas represent who your customers are. You have to understand who they are and what they care about. When you create persona documents, you should realize that they change as your company changes.
Reviewing Persona Development
The persona concept is not a new one. It was first mentioned by Alan Cooper in his 1999 book The Inmates Are Running the Asylum (SAMS).
When you create a persona, you mix your own customer data with your understanding of the marketplace to represent your ideal buyer. This is key because if you make assumptions without having real data to back them up, you risk derailing your marketing efforts.
If you’re like many marketers, the concept of personas makes you uneasy. Chief among the reasons for this uneasiness is that personas aren’t easy to create or maintain. Your customer constantly changes her opinions, likes, and behaviors. You therefore have to keep abreast of her needs and wishes.
According to a 2015 joint study done by Quant cast and Forbes, 54 percent of companies agree that for audience targeting, identifying the proper personas is their biggest challenge. So you’re not alone in your quest to get personas done right. They are complex and can’t be tossed off quickly.
You can’t sell to everyone, of course, so understanding your niche is crucial before you create your personas. You’ve probably heard the term niche used all the time, but what does it actually mean? Your niche is the special corner of the marketplace that is interested in your products and services. When you understand your niche, you help your company reach its most interested buyers.
Understanding how persona creation improves content
The work of developing personas involves a combination of art and science. You need hard data to justify your conclusions. You also need a sense of how that data translates into customer emotions and actions. If you have a poorly constructed set of personas, you may do more harm than good.
Taking action to understand your customers
One of the main reasons that personas are hard to create is that you just can’t sit quietly in your office and look at data. You need to take action to gather everything you want to know.
What types of data should you mine to gather information for your personas? The list goes well beyond the usual prescription to conduct one-on-one interviews. If you take the time to collect different types of data, you gain the added insight you need to serve your customers.
Deploying listening tools
Smart content marketers know that listening to their customers is crucial. That’s why good listening tools are available online. A listening tool is a tool that helps you find out what your customers are saying online about you and your brand. For example, if someone mentions your brand in a tweet, you want to know about it.
Much has been reported about how Millennial differ in their attitude toward marketing and technology. They have grown up with digital gadgets and aren’t intimidated by them. They can easily spot hype and are resistant to it in marketing messages. They like to be asked to participate by companies and are more likely to take the advice of another millennial they don’t know rather than be influenced by a popular brand.