Understanding the Marketing Customer Persona
How well do you know your customers? Market research is an essential weapon for any marketing team to undertake before they can develop an award-winning marketing strategy for a business. Part of this research includes building a customer persona, an ideal outline of the perfect customer to your brand or service.
What is a Customer Persona?
A customer persona (also known as a buyer persona) is a semi-fictional archetype that represents the key traits of a large segment of your audience, based on the data you’ve collected from user research and web analytics. It gives you insight into what your prospective customers are thinking and doing as they weigh potential options that address the problem they want to solve.
In order to clearly depict who the target consumers are and how they use digital, marketers develop personas that help them to better their understanding of consumers, their characteristics, and behavioural patterns. Although personas are generalisations of the overall population they offer great insight for marketing teams.
A persona is a representation of a consumer and its characteristics which include:
- Demographic characteristics - including age, gender, education, occupation, geographic location, etc.
- Psychographic characteristics - including attitudes, beliefs, values, motives, goals, etc.
- Webography characteristics - including digital use, usage frequency, a device used, etc.
Marketers use personas in order to develop consumer-centric digital marketing strategies which are key to success.
The Persona Journey
Each persona undergoes a journey starting from recognising the need for the product to purchasing it. We refer to it as the consumer (or customer) journey. An online consumer journey depicts the patterns of how consumers become aware of products, search for products, and purchase them.
It starts with awareness, or need recognition, where consumers become aware that they have a need to be satisfied. At this stage, marketing activities may also trigger need recognition. For example, a consumer may see a sponsored post on social media or a pop-up ad on a webpage which will trigger the need for the product. At this stage, it is important to assess ‘what they see’.
What Will the Consumer Do?
Once consumers recognise that they have a need for a product, they will start their product search. At this stage, it is important to know what the consumer will do - how do they search for products? You already know that most consumers will use a search engine for product search. They may also use social media or review websites.
What Should We Provide to the Consumer?
To stimulate interest in the value proposition, marketers need to add digital value to their offering. Can you remember what digital value is? Digital value refers to content marketers provide the consumer with - it is important that marketers understand what content to provide.
How Do We Convert the Consumer?
The next step is to develop a desire for a product and ensure that the consumer will purchase the product. At this stage of the journey marketers need to ask a question - how do we convert the consumer?
Finally, What is Next For the Consumer?
When the consumer purchases the product, marketers have to think about what is next. This is the starting point of your business growth strategy and supplements the long-lasting concept that the customer comes first.
Creating a customer persona template is your next step, this depends on product, service and brand reputation and performance, and will change from business to business. The key is for your marketing teams to make the most of understanding the data and utilising it for marketing and promotional use.
For more information on how personalisation works across various stages of the customer journey, read The Ultimate Guide to Website Personalisation.