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August 15, 2018

Creating a Marketing Plan, Part 2 – Personas

What’s the most important part of marketing? Advertisements? Press releases? Social media?

No. It’s your audience.

They’re the ones who will ultimately buy your product or service. They will determine whether your business succeeds or fails.

To succeed in marketing – and to succeed in your business – you need to understand who those people are. After all, marketing is just recognizing what your customers need, and then fulfilling that need for them.


But, you may ask, how do I know who my audience is? That’s where the real detective work comes in. You need to perform some market research – finding out things about your customers (and potential customers) that will help you deliver your message to them.

Begin by looking at your existing client base. What is their average income? Are they mostly women or men? Where do they live? What’s their typical age? Do they work for a living? You may know the answers to these questions off the top of your head if you cater to a particular demographic.

If you have no idea, you may want to do a quick survey or start gathering this information when you make a sale. You may also look at any industry data supplied by a market research company or your industry’s professional association.=

Once you get a good picture of who your audience comprises, you can create personas – semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on the data you’ve collected.


Persona example

An example of a persona. (Image by https://18f.gsa.gov)

We can hear you some of you now: “I don’t have a typical customer!” That’s okay; you can create more than one persona! Also, may find more commonalities than you think. Try to isolate a key segment of your audience and focus on them: Are your top buyers men or women? Are they young or old? Pretty soon, some details will start to emerge, especially if you conduct a survey of your existing customers.

Building your personas

Have fun with this. Make this person as real as possible – use stock photos for the pictures, and give them a name – but always base the person’s characteristics on the data. Answer questions such as:

  • Where do they work?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What are their goals when searching for a company like yours?
  • What fears or concerns do they have about using the product or service that you sell?
  • Are they on Facebook or Instagram?
  • How are their computer skills?

Making decisions such as these can go a long way toward creating your persona and ultimately, determining your marketing strategy.

For instance, based on research, you find that your target audience is 18-25-year-olds. Your persona would more likely be an Instagram user. So your social marketing efforts might focus on Instagram more than Facebook.

Come up with 2-3 personas. Learn them. Get to know them. Hang them on your wall so you always know who your audience is. And it will come in handy as we progress down the path toward a full-fledged marketing plan.

Coming up: Spy on your competitors (That’s what we ninjas do best!)

Previous: Creating a marketing plan, Part 1

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