Updated 14 August 19
You’ve researched and built your personas, given them jazzy alliterative names like ‘Startup Sally’ and ‘MedTech Mike’ and presented them to your team to raucous adoration. Life is good, and you’re all feeling pretty psyched knowing you’ve perfectly identified and memorised who each of your customer personas are.
So, now what? The excitement passes, you get back to your day job and they get filed under ‘important marketing information’ never to see the light of day again… sound familiar?
If you’ve been successful in creating persona’s, but you’ve not used them in the past month - this post is for you. Below we’re going to explain how you should be using your persona’s frequently and throughout the business to ensure you’re getting maximum value from them.
The foundation of your content strategy
Customer personas should be used to inform the content that you create. Map out a customer journey for each one, detailing each touchpoint that they’ll have with your business throughout their buying journey, and then continued as a customer. This will help you to understand what information your audience needs at each stage of their lifecycle. Each journey is likely to be different, so understanding what they need, when and where they’ll source this information means you can produce valuable content to reach and engage with them at the right time to move them along through the funnel.
Choosing your media channels and partners
When it comes to deciding where to place your media spend there are a plethora of options available. Literally thousands of different TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, social media, blogs, vlogs and influencers to choose from! So how do you make decisions about which ones will be best for your brand?
Having clearly defined customer personas will help. Do these personas look at product recommendations on mumsnet, is googling their go-to or do they swear by whatever their favourite vlogger recommends? Having a deep understanding of your personas, where and how they consume content and spend time online will guide where you should be placing your media spend and efforts. If you’re not sure if a media channel will be speaking to the right audience for you, ask them for a rate card or media pack, most media outlets will be able to provide this and it will detail reader/viewer demographics, if you’re torn between a couple of outlets compare these for each and see which aligns most closely to your persona(s). Decision made.
Unleash the insights to your creative team
Your personas contain a mass of insight about the people that your products, packaging, ads, website and all external communications should be talking to. Your creative team needs to know and understand the persona’s they’re creating for too, before starting any work. When briefing a creative task, involve your personas. Discuss their likes, dislikes, the problems they face, their personalities and understand the language they use. These insights are invaluable to anyone working creatively on your brand. The more they know, the better they can design, write and code for them, as David Ogilvy once said “Give me the freedom of a tight brief”.
Call out the people to avoid
So our personas have given us a great guide as to the people we want, but calling out the people that, as a business, we DON’T want to engage with will also add great value. Build negative persona’s that call out the behaviours, demographics and real life scenarios that disqualify them from your ideal. Identify and stop wasting time and money on customers that are harder to serve, speak to other members of your team that regularly engage with your customers/users and look for patterns i.e. are their customers from certain industries, job roles, locations, in certain age brackets etc etc that frequently cause problems? Call them out and think of tactics to exclude them from your marketing audiences.
Building the right product
When soliciting feedback on your product you should build user groups that contain personalities aligned to each one. Showing the various stages of your product development to persona relevant user groups allows you to gather valuable, unbiased opinions and feedback from the people that will really use your product.
Sure it’s tempting to just ask friends and family for feedback and opinion but this can completely derail your startup (see “How to talk to customers when everyone is lying” if you need any more convincing). Make sure you’re speaking to the right people, and map their feedback to each persona. This will provide value, not just for your product development, but adding further insight to all of your communications too.
So hopefully you now have a better understanding of how personas can be used to add value and help you drive results. We’re hoping this will inspire you to take the initiative and get them out of that well-organised folder that nobody looks at, and into your day to day work. Print them big, pin them to walls, get them out of marketing and into the wider business teams, ideate around them, take them to meetings and ensure they are being considered and are in the discussion whenever you’re making decisions that could impact your customers.
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