What Is a Persona? Unraveling Its Importance in Marketing Success

Posted on August 11, 2023 | Updated on August 11, 2023

If you’ve worked in marketing for quite some time, then you know it matters who you’re targeting in a campaign. You may have even heard the term persona thrown into the mix when creating a marketing strategy. Yet, what is a persona, and why is it such a big deal in marketing? 

There’s an easy explanation for it all. Once you have an understanding of a persona and its role in achieving marketing success, you’ll learn how to create your own. Plus, you’ll use it to shape powerful marketing strategies.

What Is a Persona?

What is a persona in marketing? Simply put, a persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Think of it as a character you would incorporate into your stories. This character is based on real data about your existing customers, including behaviors, motivations and challenges.

There are different types of personas in marketing:

  • Primary persona: This is your main target audience — the ones you prioritize when designing marketing strategies. 
  • Secondary persona: While not your main focus, secondary personas are still important and may influence your strategy. 
  • Negative persona: These are the people who are not an ideal fit for your product or service.

Personas are necessary in marketing because they give you a glimpse into your customer’s world. It allows you to see what they need, their problems, and how your offer fits into their life. 

With personas, you empathize with your target audience. Marketers can understand them better and create messages that resonate with them. This makes your marketing efforts more powerful than ever. Therefore, personas are a must-have for anyone wanting to excel in marketing.

The Role of Personas in a Marketing Strategy

Personas play a huge part in shaping your strategy. They help you understand what your customer is interested in most. At the same time, you also gain insights into how they make decisions. This understanding guides everything from the messages you craft to the channels used to communicate. It even has much to do with the timing of your interactions.

When picking a product or service, people tend to gravitate toward brands they know. Those who know a brand well place trust in this business, making them more likely to make a purchase from it. 

Personas also influence how a brand makes itself known to consumers. For instance, many companies increase brand awareness using content creation. In content marketing, personas guide the tone, style and topics. For example, if your persona is a busy mom looking to make her life easier — your content may include time-saving tips or must-have family products.

Personas also guide product development. If you know your persona’s needs and challenges, you can design products or services to address them. For example, if a persona is tech-savvy but constantly on the go, a mobile app version of your service could be the perfect solution.

As you can see, personas define your marketing efforts in many ways. A perfect example of a company that uses personas to inform its content strategy is Netflix. The streaming company creates detailed personas based on user viewing habits. This helps Netflix decide what new content to produce and how to recommend existing content to viewers.

This persona-based strategy has led to hit shows like Stranger Things and The Crown, proving how personas shape your marketing success.

How Personas Help You Achieve Marketing Success

Persona is more than a word used in marketing. Your personas have a significant impact on marketing success. Knowing who you’re speaking to makes your communication more focused and relevant. In turn, this increases your engagement and conversion rates. Plus, 62% of customers remain loyal when brands create custom experiences.

When businesses understand their customers on a personal level, they can tailor their offerings and messages to meet their needs. This alignment leads to more successful marketing campaigns. In fact, research shows that persona-based marketing can increase email click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%.

Without personas, there can be a disconnect between your brand and its audience. A basic understanding of your target audience places you at risk of creating marketing campaigns that miss the mark. Therefore, you need personas to ensure you’re on point each time you market your offerings.

The Steps to Creating a Persona

Before you start creating your persona, it’s essential to know that you may be creating more than one persona. However, the fewer there are, the better. That way, you can make it easy to create enough content while still keeping it unique.

With that in mind, here are the steps to create your first persona.

1. Gather Research and Data

The first step to creating your persona is researching and gathering information about your current and potential customers. The typical research methods for developing your ideal customer profile involve various tactics, including:

  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Website analytics
  • Social media behavior analysis
  • Industry reports

Effective research involves a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. These types of information combine measurable facts with details to inform your marketing team who the personas represent. Be sure to look for patterns in your data. Look at the common interests, challenges and goals your customers share.

2. Segment Your Audience

The key to marketing success is to be able to talk to groups of customers within your brand’s target audience. To achieve this, you’ll need to divide your customers into groups that share common characteristics. These could include common attributes such as age, interests, goals and challenges. 

Start defining your segments under different categories and use them to connect your segments to your personas.

3. Define Your Persona Profiles

This step is where the fun part comes into play. Finally, you can fill in the information that defines your character. In doing so, you create a profile for each person based on the findings you’ve collected from your research. Start filling in the profile information, including:

  • Name: Make your persona more tangible by giving it a name. This will differentiate them more easily and bring your character to life. You can even use a picture to help you visualize who that person may look like. 
  • Background: How old is your character? What is their occupation, and how much do they make? Incorporate the most pertinent details of your character to give them a personality.
  • Goals and challenges: What are your customers trying to achieve, but what obstacles keep them from accomplishing their goals?
  • Content preference: What platforms do they prefer to consume content? Maybe they like social media or blogs.

Personas Pave the Way to Marketing Success

Personas are more than a nice-to-have in marketing — they are a necessity. They allow you to see your customers in a new light. By creating your character profile, you understand your audience better and can develop strategies to meet their needs. They have a powerful influence over your content creation and how you form your marketing strategy. 

Now it’s time to create your own persona following the steps mentioned here. Doing so will immensely benefit your business, customers and bottom line.

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About The Author

Coraline (Cora) Steiner is the Senior Editor of Designerly Magazine, as well as a freelance developer. Coraline particularly enjoys discussing the tech side of design, including IoT and web hosting topics. In her free time, Coraline enjoys creating digital art and is an amateur photographer.

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