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Before putting your brand’s message out into the universe, it’s important to think about who you’re talking to. By being too general with your marketing efforts, you aren’t taking advantage of the benefits of defining your target audience. With more niche messaging, you can create more interest in your brand and gain a dedicated following of customers. Read on to learn about the importance of your target audience and how personas in marketing can help you tailor your marketing strategy.

What Is a Target Audience?

A target audience is who you direct your marketing messaging to. They are the ideal consumers for your products and services. When developing your offerings and marketing initiatives, these are the people you should have in mind. Your goal is to attract this group of people to your brand.

You define your target audience based on their demographics and behaviors, and then you form your marketing strategy around those details. The way you would advertise to two different groups of people will vary.

Let’s look at a target audience defined by their behavior, for example. When an outdoor recreation brand wants to sell kayaks, they will gear their messaging toward people who enjoy being on the water. It wouldn’t make sense to focus on people who don’t like being active outside. By creating personalized content, you can increase your sales a great deal.

Image via Pexels by Andrea Piacquadio

What Is a Marketing Persona?

A marketing persona is a fictionalized character who represents someone from your target audience. You may even develop a few different marketing personas to build upon when it’s time to construct your brand’s strategy. When creating a marketing persona, you need to define the who, what, where, when, and why of your target audience. You should also consider key demographics, such as age, gender, job title, and socioeconomic status.

When you create a marketing persona, you build a character who would be interested in your products or services. For example, if your target audience is moms over 40, you would build your persona off of generalized information about this audience. Your marketing persona could be Joan, in this case. Joan has three kids, likes to go to the gym, and is quite wealthy. By making up her backstory, your marketing team can better understand who they may be reaching out to.

Why Personas Are an Excellent Tool for Marketing

Creating personas for marketing is a smart strategy for the following reasons:

  • They put a face to your target audience — Instead of marketing to the masses, a marketing persona helps you actually envision someone from this target audience. Since you build this persona based on real data from your target audience, it’s easier to understand who you’re actually reaching out to. This can help make your marketing more human and authentic.
  • You think more deeply about your target audience — A marketing persona makes you take a more in-depth look at your target audience. You need to define who this person is and why they are interested in your company. When making a persona, define their goals, aspirations, motivations, and anything else that could influence this person’s buying decisions. Doing more research on your target audience can lead to more nuanced and successful marketing campaigns.
  • Your team has a cohesive vision — When you collectively imagine your ideal buyer, your marketing team has a clear understanding of who they are reaching out to. Marketing personas can even benefit other departments, such as sales, public relations, and customer success. By using this marketing method, your messaging is more aligned across the board. Everyone from your copywriters to your graphic designers can benefit from a marketing persona.
  • You can find more leads — Once you create a persona for marketing, you can start to target consumers who fall within these criteria. For example, when your team builds ads, personas give you a much better idea of who to send them to. Even if someone doesn’t check off every box, your persona can help you decide which demographics are best for your campaigns.

Common Marketing Persona Mistakes

Avoid these mistakes when developing marketing personas for your business:

  • Keeping them to yourself — Since marketing teams benefit from personas, why not share them with your entire company? This can ensure that everyone is on the same page. Sales teams benefit since they know who to reach out to, and customer success teams benefit because they can cater their customer service techniques to a specific kind of consumer.
  • Not doing your research — You need to learn about the people who actually fit within your persona. Your fictional character shouldn’t be based on your team’s imagination. Instead, they should look like a real person who might be interested in your products and services. Get to know your target audience by conducting customer surveys and interviews. Combine the qualitative and quantitative data you gathered to create a realistic persona.
  • Adding too many details — Although details like this person’s job title, name, and interests can be helpful, try not to run wild with the rest. Your team is unlikely to benefit from knowing your persona’s favorite song or ice cream flavor unless you happen to be selling and marketing these things specifically.
  • Not updating your personas — Since your target audience may change or evolve over time, it’s safe to assume that your personas will as well. By revisiting them at least once or twice a year, you can keep them up to date. Having an outdated persona puts your team at risk of creating dated campaigns. Be sure to continue your buyer research and update accordingly.

Having a good understanding of your target audience is at the heart of every successful marketing campaign. By taking the time to develop personas for marketing, your team can create more effective messaging.

Knowledge Base: Intro to Marketing

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