Sometimes when it comes to crafting effective campaigns, we forget about our audience. Let’s face it – It is easy to slip into the “feature only mode” in this business. We’re all pushed with deadlines and details. Hey, we’re human.
There is a tool though that can help you stay focused in like a laser beam on your target audience. That tool is a “persona”. Quite simply, a persona is a fictional, but very detailed description, of your target audience.
There are firms out there that specialize in researching and writing personas for you, but I suggest, before you make that kind of monetary investment, you might try building your own version first – here’s how to get started:
• Download an example – (just Google “buyer persona” and you will find plenty)
• Choose one from the group – don’t worry about getting the “perfect” one right out of the gate – select the one that makes the most sense to you
• Fill in the details to begin writing the story of this imaginary person
• Don’t be surprised if you have some blanks that require you to go and do some research (that’s really the whole point of the exercise – to learn about your audience)
Let’s take a look at a hypothetical example:
Let’s assume, for a moment, our company makes GPS navigation systems for automotive use. Let’s say we discovered through our research that our primary target market is female, age 20-35, and is married with 2.67 children, is primarily a working, professional mom who is extremely busy – she spends much of her time just keeping things moving at home and work. If she’s not rushing to make sure her kids are on time to school, she’s rushing over to soccer practice and trying to juggle other important engagements. While she is not “technologically-challenged”, she does think spending lots of time fumbling with “techie” stuff” only slows her down – so she prefers things that are quick, easy and reliable. Let’s face facts – Elizabeth has more important things to focus on.
With all this knowledge about Elizabeth, our strategy can now begin take shape. Using the template you downloaded, fill in all the details you know about Elizabeth – be sure to pick out a photo as well – it will help (especially if you have more than one target audience).
Hang that persona up on the wall right above your desk. Now, as you write your creative brief, be sure to look at Elizabeth’s persona through the entire process. Then, after you prepare your creative brief, take it along with you to your creative team and discuss what you know about Elizabeth. You can even make it fun by doing a quick role-play and “be Elizabeth” as you discuss tailoring our communication strategy around Elizabeth’s needs and interests.
As I’m sure you can see, in this particular case, instead of talking about how the GPS technology was originally designed for military purposes, we want to focus our message on how easy our product is to work, and how much time Elizabeth can save by avoiding traffic and taking the fastest routes to her destinations.
This exercise can be a valuable investment. Once completed, you can always have them mounted and framed to hang in your office as a constant reminder of who the real boss is.
– Chris Yost