People Power – 5 Steps to Optimal Marketing Persona Development

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Business is personal. And to do it well you need to understand as much as you can about your customers. What makes them tick, what drives their interests, and why they should buy from you. To gain this understanding, you can use the concept of personas – fictional characters that represent the customers you are targeting. Personas serve as a communication tool to share knowledge and help you determine how you will work with customers.

Personas make it real

Personas bring audiences to life in a very human and real way helping sales and marketing teams gain a better understanding of behaviors, patterns, needs and preferences. Personas provide benefits of focusing product development, improving marketing effectiveness, empowering sales teams and enabling a more thoughtful approach to aligning with the customer journey. Follow the 5 steps outlined here to develop powerful ones that work for you.

  1. Getting to know you – developing base personas – a good persona program begins by identifying as many customers as possible who would likely be interested in the new product or solution. In order to find the right home for them, these need to be assigned to the categories of recommender, influencer, decision-maker and approver. Next, to develop their personalities, build out base details about the personas such as demographics, motivations and sales objections. Limit the number of personas to about five to make the list manageable.
  2. Finding out where you fit – align each persona with sales cycle and customer journey – the sales cycle takes the view of how and when to sell to the customer, while the customer journey takes the view of how the customer goes through the process of considering a product purchase. Aligning personas against them shows how and when you can best engage and interact with your personas most effectively.
  3. It’s never too early to communicate and gather feedback – feedback on your personas should be gathered from various groups but the best one to ask is your sales team. These are the experts who know these personalities the best and can help confirm, validate, or negate your thoughts on what to do.
  4. Making it custom – use personas as a guide – use personas as a guide to developing custom marketing programs and messaging. This can be done by creating questions personas would ask at each stage of the customer journey. An understanding of how these questions would be answered will provide this guidance.
  5. Keep personas active – reference them as often as you can and continue to refresh them with new customer data. Enrich your personas with more detail about products and purchase motivators.

By following these 5 steps to develop personas, you can isolate your customer approach to the phase of the product lifecycle you are in, what you need to understand about the customer, what you need to test, or what you need to validate. Taking the time to build out personas will thus provide long-term value to both your marketing and sales teams.

Click here to watch the Exact Market video, “The Importance of Developing Personas”.