Better Marketing with Better Personas

by Russ Shumaker

Why do we need to think about Customer Personas?

Many companies have consumer personas that are little more than age-demographic sketches based on whatever information they've been able to collect through a small number of customer interactions and industry research.

One company we worked with took a typical age-based approach to customer personas, but it wasn’t getting them anywhere.

It was difficult to figure out how to target and treat a 50-year-old customer versus a 35-year-old customer, and as a result, their marketing team wasn't using personas at all.

It's easy to see how weak personas can lead to ineffective messaging.

So how do you resolve the lackluster results stemming from fuzzy identities?

You sharpen the focus.

After an in-depth analysis of customer data, using both internal and external resources, the company in question landed on a much more sophisticated set of buyer personas.

Instead of using age (which turned out to be a statistically insignificant factor) to segment, they used actual consumer behavior: Where they shopped, how they made their purchases, what kind of media they preferred to consume (like podcasts, videos, or magazines), and so on.

Better customer data led to better-informed marketing decisions and a significant increase in revenue.

Or here’s another example: If you’re a healthcare company targeting a geriatric population, and due to economies of scale, you benefit from high concentrations of seniors, you’d benefit from knowing that California has the fastest growing rate of seniors in the country.

But the more actionable piece of information would be knowing where these seniors prefer to get their information about healthcare.

Armed with this information, you can advertise your services where your audience is already active and engaged.