The target market persona is a fundamental building block of modern marketing.
Is marketing a science or an art? A bit of both if you’re doing it properly, according to my experience and most writers. (See Brand Quarterly for a good exposition)
Nowhere is this more evident than in considering the fundamental marketing challenge of understanding your target market. Often this seems to be done instinctively and inadequately in SMEs. Often I see the focus being on delivering marketing activity before understanding the intended market. The appliance of a little science, a lot of thought and a basic structure can help here. Business owners and managers should evolve a deeper understanding of their markets in order to get better returns from their marketing investments.
There are four cornerstones to building a personality for your target market persona definition. These can then be leveraged in creative, emotionally-led communications. Use what sources of data you can, before applying instinct. That’s customer information, marketing activity analysis, paid for research, anything with facts.
What’s On Offer?
This is about what you do. What problems are you solving, what is your role in the world? Look closely at your business and try to be as tight as possible in defining what you do. It’s quite possible that you do more than one thing. So in this case, be sure to develop the definitions for multiple offerings. It’s quite possible that you have multiple target markets for these products or service too.
Once you’ve a clear concept of what’s on offer, you’re ready to think about the target market persona.
Who Benefits From This?
Do you know who suffers from the problems that you are able to solve? Who has a need for what you have on offer?
This is where you can start to paint a picture of who you want to talk to. Don’t restrict yourself to who they are and where they are. Try to understand their feelings as much as what they look like.
How old are they? What do they do for a living? What makes them tick and why could you be important to them?
Is there a distinction between the decision maker and the beneficiary? In other words, if you solve their problems, who gains the most?
Do they already know you? What do they think/feel about you?
Can The Market be Broken Down Into Sub-Groups?
Chances are by now you’ve got some fairly broad descriptors of your market. These will probably be based on existing/past customers and marketing activity or, if you’re a start-up, your desired attributes.
To help you later with your communication choices, you seek to further refine this target definition with segmentation. Can you put individuals into sub-groups, by geography, by social standing, by attitudes to you and your products?
Are there any low-hanging fruit that perhaps you should approach first?
Once you have a broad definition and sub-groups within it you should have a pretty good idea of not just the basics of who/what/where but also the personality of your target market segments. This is the time to really inject personality descriptions into the personas.
Before you head off to get creative, there’s one more thing to look at, the competition.
Where Else Can They Derive These Benefits?
We all like to think we’re unique, but if you weren’t there, how would your target solve their problems or fulfil their needs? Even if they aren’t in direct competition, you always have some competitors as customers always have a choice. You need to understand your competitors and ensure that you have a compelling offer that is better than theirs and markedly different.
How important is price in your market? Service? ….
Now you have a definition that goes beyond simple description into target market persona and has been enhanced by segmentation and competitor analysis. It’s a mix of science, fact and observed traits as well as being emotionally intelligent and perceptive. It’s a lot more colourful and insightful than the one-liner definitions so often seen.
If you want support in improving your target market persona definitions, a full marketing audit or activity support, contact Coyne Sales and Marketing now.