Persona – an innovative and practical marketing tool

What is a persona?

We all have a personality. We are born somewhere, work somewhere, eat something, like and dislike, hate and love, fear and loath and we love buying certain brands and avoid others. That is the total sum of our personality and this is critical for marketing evaluation information. Based on our personality information and buying preferences, a customer profile is created by marketing specialists, which in turn is instrumental in the formulation of marketing strategies.

Persona Creation

An approach to marketing is persona creation, a combination of raw personal data about buyers and educated guesses to project a virtual image of a classic present or potential buyer. The projected virtual image called a PERSONA is the model on which the whole marketing or advertisement is subsequently focused.

Creating one is a very business specific concept. Each business creates a persona according to its business goals, values, target customers, future plans and people who buy or don’t buy that business’s products or services. The characteristics of each business persona may be different but the general process of evolving a persona can be somewhat similar.

Devise persona template

The process of  creation generally starts with devising a template which includes images and details about the basic personality traits of the group of customers which are generally placed within a common category based on certain similarities in age, occupations and life style habits. The template helps the marketer to create a virtual image and understand what that particular person likes, dislikes, values and how best to approach that personality. This might subsequently form the basis of a focused tag-line or slogan which must prove irresistible and compel the individual to engage and answer a call to action.

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Here is a quick overview of what is included in a general template (details may vary depending upon marketing or advertisement objectives in individual business cases). It’s really important to use reliable and robust source data to support your reasoning, in addition to your own experience and ‘gut’ feeling:
1. Name the person
2. A description of Job title
• Key information about their job or workplace (size, type, etc.)
• Key details about their job role and position.
3. Demographic Details
• Age
• Gender
• Subject Salary and household income
• Demographic background e.g. urban, suburban or rural
• Educational status
• Family details
4. Goals and challenges
• Primary goal in life
• Secondary goal which interests the persona individual
• How you help achieve these goals
• Primary challenges in life
• Secondary challenges in life
• How can you help to provide solutions of these problems?
5. Values / fears that drive or hamper
• Primary values which matter
• Common objections which one has during the sales process

Based on this information, a persona of a prospective or present client is created complete with a name and a visual image (sometimes comical).

Marketing message

Devising a marketing message based on the persona’s preferences is the logical conclusion to the persona creation process. The message must address the vulnerabilities, fears, objections and problems of the customer to remain appealing and leave a lasting mark on the persona’s mind.

The last word  . . .

This is a very basic and introductory model of persona creation. In reality, the science of  creation is way more advanced and specialists create marketing campaigns for businesses using this approach as a tool.

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