Part One: Create a Persona

Typically marketing is defined as the method or process for promoting, explaining and demonstrating the distinctive features of services or products for the purpose of gaining the attention of an individual or an organization – with the intent of ultimately making a sale.

The definition of marketing and branding communications has not changed, but technology has had a significant impact on the marketing tools that are available today to help companies and nonprofits tell their story and distinguish their message. However, no matter how marketing is defined, there is one critical ingredient that has stood the test of time. Throughout the centuries, successful sellers have always been attuned to offering the buyers’ what they need, want and value. While the concept of identifying what motivates a buyer/user is not new, the current discussion opens up a new way to view the customer base.

Creating a persona    

In 1983, noted software designer Alan Cooper, suggested a technique for gathering data from customers that could contribute to the development of what he dubbed a ‘user persona.’  What he proposed was to leverage the details learned about shopping preferences to address the real needs of a typical prospect.  The real life data gives the seller a tangible way of accurately predicting what the audience most values based on a composite of the attitudes of their target audience.  For example, companies selling surf boards will utilize a persona with the attributes of customers who have exhibited a passion for water sports. In contrast, the persona representing a traditional corporate law firm client will perhaps reflect the image of an entrepreneurial business owner.   

Personas provide valuable information

There is a unique ‘persona’ which provides a ‘human face’ behind the demographics that accurately reflects the market segment for each organization. Commercial businesses, service providers and nonprofits alike can benefit from having deeper insights into the common behaviors, goals, and desires of their potential clients and customers. Using the information, they can shape, change, add features, or offer key options based on their users’ preferences.

A competitive edge

As the global market place becomes even more compressed, every company – large and small - will be seeking innovative ways to gain an advantage over their competitors.
Some will review the research data to seek better ways to communicate with customers. Others will review the data presented in order to offer better features for their services and products. In any case, having keen insights into the persona that best reflects their human targets can be just what they need to stay at the cutting edge of their niche.  

Coming Next: Part Two/Agile Marketing