Segmentation has long been used by brands as a way of grouping customer bases into meaningful collectives based on indelible characteristics such as age, nationality, class etc. What brands are shifting towards is creating customer personas, which look deeper at the customer and bring the customers unique attributes to life in a way simple segmentation does not. The difference between customer segmentation and personas is that segmentation merely groups people on the basis of overriding traits such as age, where they live and basic buying behaviours, customer personas, on the other hand, are created when a brand looks at these segments and tries to identify which qualities unite the individuals in these segments.
Creating a customer persona involves building up a picture of who the customer is based on emotive information such as what really drives them to purchase a product, what do they value in life and how is this reflected in their buying behaviour? Brands can then take this information and deliver products and experiences, that are tailored to appeal and satisfy on a much deeper level.
How to create a customer persona
A customer persona is comprised of several pieces of information. What motivates a customer to buy a product, what influences them when it comes to buying, what frustrates them about the buying process, what their interests are, what behaviours they exhibit and what brands and media they consume. The information is gathered often through keyword research. This is a tool which generates data, triggered by specific words. For example, you might search keywords such as your brand followed by the word ‘discount’ and if the results are significantly high this may show that certain customers prioritise price when it comes to your products. You now have evidence of what motivates a customer to buy your product and one part of the customer persona has been constructed. Social Media is also a great way to establish your customer’s personas. Facebook allows you to determine how customers respond to your content, further allowing you to gain insight into what influences a customer when it comes to your product and what affects them emotionally about your product. With Social Media, you obviously have information on a customers age and location and you can contrast this with the information about how they are interacting with your brands content online to further construct customer personas. Customer personas can also be largely influenced by surveys, feedback, and interviews.
Build a negative persona
Once you have built a customer persona, build a negative one too, where you identify the sorts of customers you don’t want. The sort of customer you don’t want is one who is overly critical and hard to please, who abandons their checkout frequently and generates negative online reviews. You build negative personas in the same way you build positive ones, through online research and data capture. By knowing who you don’t want to target you can focus better on the real target, and make sure your communications are accurate and succinct.
Once your customer personas have been created, you can then plan your advertising strategy. You should know the sorts of media your customers consume and tailor your message for those channels. You can begin using your customer’s language to communicate your message. Adopt similar slang and colloquialisms. With more information, your content will evolve to become more detailed. It will now be comprised of topics that appeal to your customer’s values and interests. By this stage, you should also have information on other brands your customers love and be able to partner with some of these brands in joint ventures.
Through building customer personas, marketing for brands becomes far more detailed yet more cost efficient. By knowing exactly who you are talking to and what motivates these people to complete purchases, your messaging and communications can become far more targeted, detailed and ultimately effective.