In this series, we introduce elements for the central themes from Gerrit’s content marketing methods book “Methodical Content Marketing”. Today’s topic involves persona development. This topic is one of the most heavily discussed when it comes to performance oriented content marketing strategies. The reasons for this are diverse: a good persona depends on the data sources that it comes from. Data storage is often fragmented in different industries, for each target market as well as that every project has a different quality. In order to still carry out the project, the blank spaces are filled with gut instinct and fantasy. As a result, there are not really any standardized methods to accomplish just that. In the first part of this multi-part series, we delve deeper into the topic of marketing personas.
Everyone that has gone to a concert with their favorite artist or a reading from their favorite author will surely have the feeling that this artist speaks from their soul. The message they are conveying seems to fit our emotional state, reflect on our current life situation, and resonates with us. This is how it works at that moment with many people in the audience. The artist on stage is neither us, nor the person next to us. They look instead like a group of individuals that all have the same problem, share the same hopes, and expect some type of solution from the artist, which is what makes them fans. This artist is a persona.
A marketing persona is a sketch
A marketing persona is quite similar to the above description. It’s a fictional portrayal of the ideal customer for our business. It’s a sketch showing the leeway for interpretation we allow ourselves when using a certain degree of freedom in the acquisition of a customer. Marketing personas visualize our ideal customers so that we can formulate our content and message in a way that has the largest effect on our target market. If we have an image of this person in our minds, we can then engage with them better.
Marketing personas help with decision-making
Let’s say for example that we are selling software based on a license model that requires a monthly investment of 100 euros. We know from experience at which job level employees have such a budget. We learn about the job title, how the company structure was formed and which people we have to engage to bring the decision to a higher level. We can even describe the relationship between the marketing employee and his supervisor, how often they need to create reports, what knowledge they both have built up over the past few years and how we tap into it for our own purposes. However, not only do personas help us to develop our communicative content, they also describe the behavior of our target audience with regards to our products or services: where they scroll, where they click, and how they provide data. Regardless of the industry, you help our company develop a content strategy, empathize with the customer journey, streamline the site, develop the products, and improve all other custom aspects of our business. When it comes to a persona, not only statical data is of importance, but also information about their process of decision-making. In this way, we can decide when to provide information on which channel to convert a user into a customer.
Communicate better with data
The basis for developing personas is data. This is left to the marketing team to decide from gut instinct what the expectations from our potential customers look like. Data tells us which types of problems the persona addresses and which solutions are expected. The use of personas also increases the satisfaction of the marketing team. By focusing on goal orientation, success can be reached more quickly and marketers get the feeling that they are no longer just communicating with the grey masses, but are actually helping concrete individuals.
The development of personas is also useful for sales. We have optimized our content to meet each of these special needs. We know that every company has these needs. Personas help us to separate the wheat from the chaff in ways that we can convey our offerings so that they have a real chance of selling. Due to persona development, companies with less potential lose out and the feeling of sales failure does not even occur. The use of personas also has many advantages. In summary, we improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our methods. A strategic tool with such a high value is worth spending time developing.
>> Learn more about developing personas in Gerrit’s book “Methodical Content Marketing”, published by Springer Gabler Publishing. Unfortunately German only!