What is the customer persona?
You might have world-class products or services which you think might sell really well in the market, but, you need to know how your ideal customer would look like to cater according to their needs.
That’s where customer persona comes into the picture; you brainstorm the way out to understand what your ideal customer looks like and draw it out on a template which is called Customer Avatar.
It’s not a one time process where you define your customer avatar and do not touch it again; it’s a continuous process where you keep tweaking its as and when you find out a new trait of your ideal customer.
You could also have multiple customer avatars if you cater to different segments of a user base. Let’s understand this with an example:
Let’s say you are a unisex 24/7 gym; You can have customer avatars for Men, Women, older adults, etc.. You need to have a different communication for older adults than the one for young working men or women. This way, you can communicate with your audience efficiently.
Why is it important to build one?
The Only One thing which your businesses’ success depends on is —
The consumer is the lifeline of your business, and if you want to thrive at it, you cannot ignore understanding who your customer is. This way, customer persona plays as a handbook or ready-reckoner in knowing your consumers better.
Be it a sales offer or a copy for print advertising, if you know who you are talking to, their pain points, priorities, desires, and more, you could connect with them way better. If you can connect with them well, you build a massive amount of trust.
And, trust is one of the major factors which leads a user to transact with you. It could be a sale, subscription, lead capture for, or anything which inches your user to the next stage of the funnel.
Having an accurate customer persona in place also helps you pivot your product or service into the direction which aligns with the vision of your ideal consumer. It’s not a one-time thing; you keep understanding from a feedback system and tweak accordingly.
So, communication strategy to product development strategy, Customer persona plays a vital role in the success of your offering.
Building your customer persona
I have structured Customer Persona into two sections; first, we learn how to build one, and then we understand how to use it to stay on top of the game.
There can be numerous ways, templates, frameworks people use to build their customer’s avatar. It’s all up to you to decide which one works well with you.
Here I am going to uncover a framework that you could use to match your requirements, and I am not going to give you a hardline template.
Instead of different data points, data collection ways, and a few best templates which you use to build your model and understand your end-users better.
So let’s get started:
Research about your customer
We can start our research about the end-user at various levels of data, so let’s understand a few of the macro-level segments you need to look to understand your consumer better.
Demographics is one of the most basic and essential ways to segment and research your customers. You try to understand things like:
- Income, and more
These data points give you a concrete foundation about who your customer is and help you build your customer avatar much efficiently on top of this.
If you cater to your product or services to a particular group of people who belong to a specific geographic location, it makes sense to understand and define the geographic areas where your customers reside.
It is quite evident that people in different geographical locations might have buying preferences that differ from other people. E.g., If you are targeting Rural areas, you might have to rethink the medium of advertisement, as you cannot use the same media strategy as for the Urban population.
This way, defining geographic segmentation helps you in a lot of ways to market or communicate with your customers efficiently.
Interests, Lifestyle and Behaviors
What do your customers love doing, their passions, their goals, something they aspire to be. Their lifestyle matters a lot for various functions in the business.
From Marketing to Sales to operations and more, your customers’ lifestyle, Interests, and behaviors give you a tremendous amount of insights about your customers.
Understanding how your consumers behave gives you a much accurate picture of your ideal customer, and at the same time, it shouldn’t be guesswork; instead, it needs to be backed by data.
You could use any of the analytics tools for this purpose and define a path which you think your ideal customer would take on your website, ecommerce store, or even an offline store. This way, being data-driven helps you build an efficient Customer Avatar.
For Example, It’s essential to understand your consumers’ buying preferences, is it Online or Offline; this can play a crucial role in planning your Online/Offline media, communication theme, and more.
Defining Pain Points
End of the day, all you are doing is solving your customers’ problems with your product or service. By explicitly jotting down your customers’ most significant pain points helps you streamline your product development, marketing, advertising, and more.
It’s also advisable to also capture all the pain points related to the central problem you are solving; this helps you think from the consumer perspective at a whole new level and connect with them much efficiently.
Example: Understanding that users want more battery power in their phones due to the continuous usage of the internet is one of the pain points or needs of a user.
This insight will help you design, better product with higher battery power, and at the same time market and advertise your product with Battery back-up as one of the major USPs.
Brands and Influencers they like and follow
The type of brands people use or follow gives you a lot of insights about their likes and dislikes; this can also help in B2B collaboration with the respective brands to double-up your value offer.
This can also help you discover the buying behavior of the consumer based on the type of brands they buy or follow.
For Example: If a group of people prefers Louis Vitton over other brands, you could categorically say that they are luxury shoppers and prefer luxury items over affordable
Every customer is at a different stage of the buying process, and how you communicate with them needs to be different as well.
There are a lot of ways to segment your target audience based on their stage of the purchase process; one way is to label them as Cold, Warm, and Hot.
Cold: This is the audience segment who do not know you or do know they have a problem. Your aim here is to have more brand Awareness and Problem awareness communication in your Ads.
Warm: These are the folks who are problem aware, and they kind of know a bit about your brand. However, they might not have transacted with your brand. Your aim while dealing with a warm audience is to make them aware of why your brand is better than your competitors.
Hot: These are the ones who have already transacted with you and are your happy customers. The objective while dealing with theHot audience is to provide them more value by upselling them, and also, they can be your best advocates.
You ideally map the different temperatures of your audience to the respective stages of the funnel. So you assign Cold, Warm, and Hot audiences to Top, Middle, and Bottom of the funnel.
Putting your Persona in Action
Now that you understand the various data points you need to consider before building your customer avatar let’s know a bit about how you can put your customer personas in action and how this can help you to make better business decisions.
A few but not only places where having customer avatars in place gives you an edge over your competitors.
- Planning your media spend: You need to be dynamic when it comes to media buying; all you need is, right customer eyeballs on your ads. Having the right customer helps you plan your media placements and spends where your customers actually hangout.
- Communication strategy: How you communicate with your customers as a brand can make or break your customers’ trust. Customer persona helps you understand the segment of the audience you are trying to communicate. You cannot have the same communication with customers at the top of the funnel and bottom of the funnel. Hence customer persona saves your day.
- Copywriting Ads and other assets: I can say this is one of the significant use cases of having a customer persona in place. Copywriting is all about making your TG to take action, and you can only persuade them if you understand what their desires, pain points, etc.… which you research while building a customer avatar.
- Content marketing and Buyer journey mapping: Content goes to the drain if it does not resonate with your customers. Your audience will like the content when you create to provide a lot of value, and this is possible if you understand your TG well. By having a Customer avatar designed, you have a goldmine for building a content strategy that resonates among your audience well.
- Partnership with brands loved by personas: Collaboration over the competition that’s the new mantra, it gives you greater visibility and the best reach to a new audience in the shortest amount of time. One such collaboration I can think of is Red Bull & GoPro; both of these brands sell experiences or a lifestyle full of adventures. So it is always important to collaborate with a brand that has a similar vision or values as you have for your customers. Customer persona helps you zero on the brands in line with your consumers’ goals, liking, and desires.
- Product development cycle: Not only marketing but even world-class products are also built by having a customer-centric approach and understanding their needs. As I said earlier, creating a customer avatar is a continuous cycle, and the same goes for building products. Customer Avatar gives you a direction to think more customer-centric.
Now you know how important it is to understand your Target Audience; templates give you a direction or framework, but your research should not be limited to just templates.
My point is, always try to understand your customers beyond just the templates, and this post will help you build a foundation to design better personas.