5 Vital Things to Consider When Developing Marketing Personas
Updated: Nov 29, 2019
A common step within a content strategy process is to develop personas to get a better understanding of the audience. Often, there already exist personas that need to be further developed. Sometimes completely new ones have to be derived. This can be a tricky task for a couple of reasons, e.g. relevant market research data is not accessible, personas are too stereotypical or personas only represent demographics without giving instructions on what content should be developed.
The following five points help to elevate your personas and guarantee that creatives or the clients themselves utilize them:
#1 Determine objectives
The first thing to clarify is what the personas should be used for. Are they going to be input for a content marketing or social media strategy? Will they be the input in developing use cases for a physical product or an online tool? To clarify the purpose of personas is vital in order to include the right information in them. In the following I will focus on the development of content marketing personas.
#2 Assess existing internal and additional external data sources
Always use existing internal data, e.g. existing segmentations, existing market research etc. However, often this can be too constructed and not help in regards to deriving topic interests.
Hence, it is useful to consider additional tools that provide more data to enrich the personas.
Option 1: Enrich personas with search data (e.g. through Searchmetrics)
Often it can be helpful to translate existing interests of the persona into concrete keywords. SEO and Search-Tools help to identify connected relevant topics but also show how often specific keywords are used in a specific timeframe. Search data can be a great source to validate interests, topics and get inspiration for connected topics.
Option 2: Enrich personas with additional consumer insights (e.g. through Global Web Index)
Operationalize your persona in GWI and discover new relevant insights, e.g. granular interest, relevant other brands etc.
#3 Develop a consistent persona template
A useful persona template should consider the following three elements:
Element 1: Profile
This section should include the basic demographics (age, location, education, job) and is often a good start for a persona.
Element 2: Living environment
This section is more versatile and can include a bunch of different elements, e.g. digital affinity, media behavior and relevant communication channels, personal goals and motivations, core values or value system, pains and gains when communicating with them, mood board about their lifestyle, shopping preferences and requirements.
Element 3: Topic Radar
This section is elementary for a content strategy as the existing data is translated into insights: radar on relevant topics including sub-topics, requirements on the development of content (length, tonality, visual focus etc.), preferred content types and exemplary content pieces.
#4 Transform data into actionable insights
Nobody wants to see extensive data sheets and statistics within the persona itself. Include extensive data in the backup but aim at translating the data into actionable insights.
Example: You have identified e-mobility as a core topic of an audience. By using Searchmetrics you have identified connected topics like wall box or charging infrastructure. This information itself is helpful but does not provide any guidelines on how future content for this audience should look like. Hence, you should also give insights on that, e.g. estimated content piece length or content type preferences (article vs. listicle vs. slideshow vs. whitepaper vs. interview).
#5 Make it look nice
Look for high quality images of your personas and invest some time in finding the right image that represents one audience. A good source for license-free images is unsplash.com. Additionally, make sure you use the client's color codes as basic but to not spring back from taking it a step further.
Feel free to get in contact with me if you need help with your or your client's personas or to get a sample of a great persona template.