What’s a Persona?

Persona Development
Developing a persona is more than just numbers and figures. It’s learning about what a person truly wants from your company.

If you operate your own business or are part of the marketing division of a business, you probably deal with demographics and customer bios fairly regularly.

Having a successful business means that you constantly have to think about customer demographics, right?

The Demographic Distraction

Well yes, it’s important to know your target market’s demographics, psychographics, and purchasing behavior; however, there are several more in-depth marketing techniques that you can adopt to make your business even more successful.

Some businesses spend so much time focusing on the demographics and numbers side of a customer that they put them into a “facts” box and shut the lid. This technique may work for a while, but in the long run, customers won’t feel like they are appreciated as individuals. Meaning, customers might leave your business in the long run to find someone who makes them feel unique.

Building a Persona

Some of you might be thinking, “What’s a persona?” Well, a persona is a fully-developed customer personality that helps businesses understand a certain type of customer.

For example, let’s say you work for Nike and develop a new shoe for runners who suffer from overtraining. Nike developed this shoe to specifically attract men who run long distance as a form of exercise, and the entire marketing plan revolves around this person.

In order for Nike to understand this customer, they could look at the demographics and purchasing behaviors of this client, throw numbers around, and maybe find a way into the customer’s line of sight; OR they could develop a persona. A persona utilizes all the demographic and psychographic behaviors, but it also makes the target market an identified “person” with wants and feelings.

How to Market to a Person

The main difference from marketing to a persona vs. marketing to a demographic is the way the company addresses the person. Developing (and marketing to) a persona requires the company to think about what the persona wants, needs, and is interested in. It also helps the business better understand how someone might find out about or search for the products they want to sell.

Going back to the Nike example, Nike wants to sell its shoes to a long-distance, male runner who likes to exercise. Nike decides to name the persona “Running Ronnie,” and they start to live life in Running Ronnie’s shoes. Nike thinks about why Running Ronnie might want new shoes, what type of shoes he would be interested in, and what he looks for in a shoe purchase.

The Benefits of Persona Marketing

By examining these key factors, Nike can see how Running Ronnie responds better to a coupon promotion, a product quality guarantee, or a word-of-mouth testimonial from other people who love Nike’s new shoes rather than an email or store promotion. Marketing tactics that are specifically geared towards your persona market lead to more sales and happier customers.

And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to increase their sales?

The Development Process

Just like with content marketing, persona development will lead to an increased awareness of your product. However, content marketing may not result in instant spikes in sales. Developing personas in content marketing will help you attract more consumers, which will help raise brand or product awareness, but it takes time.

It might be a slower journey to a sale, but raising product awareness through content marketing and persona development will increase your business’s success.