Marketing personas: what they are and how to create one

Bring your customer insights to life

If you’re a business owner or a marketer, you will want to craft the perfect marketing message for your business. One that will appeal to your target audience, resonate with their pain points and make them flock to your virtual door.

In order to do that, you need to understand who you are communicating with.

And that’s where marketing personas come in.

What is a marketing persona?

In short, a marketing persona describes your ideal customer. It’s a fictional profile that can be used to represent a segment of your target audience.

It’s a tool you can use to think of your ideal customers as real, everyday people. After all, it’s easier to communicate with people than it is a spreadsheet full of audience insights and data.

Every business is different and will have numerous different customer types, so it’s best to create a marketing persona for each of your key customer groups.

How do I create a marketing persona?

Creating a marketing persona can be a really fun and insightful exercise. Whilst some may raise their eyebrows at first, you’ll often be surprised how much you can learn, whilst reaffirming how much you already know about your target audience.

It’s often helpful to get a variety of members of the team feeding into the creation of the marketing personas. This way you can get insight and expertise from across your business.

Team members who deal directly with your customers will often have the best insights, so a receptionist or sales assistant, may provide some really effective information that may differ from, or have been overlooked by, your business development manager or marketing manager for example.

If you don’t have the team or in-depth customer insights, don’t worry, conduct some research to inform your personas.

You could create customer feedback forms, interview current customers, create a survey on your website or utilise the power of social media and post out some polls. You can also draw on all your business experience to help inform your customer personas.

Bringing your persona to life

You will need to factor in a number of key bits of information into your marketing persona, starting with a name.

The whole exercise of marketing personas is to humanise the insights you have, so give them a name and get to know them.

If you like, you could also find a stock photo to give them a fictional face! Whilst you’re at it, give them a voice by adding in a quote that they might say.

Each marketing persona ideally should include basic demographic details, their behaviors, goals and objectives, as well as their pain points and buying patterns.

So, for basic demographics you could include: age, gender, salary, location and education.

For customer behaviours you could think about: websites they frequently visit, social media channels they use, how they digest content so their primary devices, do they use a laptop or a smartphone? Do they prefer to watch a video or read an article? Do they buy out of want or need?

When thinking about the customer’s goals and objectives, their pain points and buying patterns, draw upon your team’s knowledge, utilise your research and your own personal insights.

The beauty of marketing personas is that you can be as thorough and in-depth as you want, or you can keep it more top-level and paint broader strokes. So find the right balance that allows you to feel like you have a persona for each of your key customer groups.

example of how a user persona can look

Get crafting

Once you’ve created your marketing personas you can then use them to craft messaging and content that will resonate with your different customer groups.

Remember, the whole exercise is to humanise your target audience and ideal customers. So focus on generating messaging that will resonate with your personas and ultimately your customers on a personal level.

This can help you identify content gaps and also ensure that you’re creating content that resonates with different buyers at different stages of the sales and marketing funnel.

Creating marketing personas is a fun and fruitful exercise. It’s also integral to your wider marketing strategy, so take your time and try to get to know your target customers. Until next time, enjoy bringing your data and insights to life.