“Know your audience.” That’s a ground rule that just about every writer and performer knows. The same guideline is true for digital marketing; success depends on your ability to measure and meet the needs of users.
How do you go about understanding your digital audience? That’s the function of personas.
Personas are categories of your customer and potential customer base; they are groupings by major traits that drive buying behavior.
Personas are based on generalizations that affect the decision to purchase in a certain vertical. B2B companies might divide personas up by company size, revenue, industry, and so on. B2C companies might sort by income, gender, educational level, likes and dislikes, pain points, and so on.
Here’s a brick and mortar sample scenario: A retailer of hair products decides to divide personas by in-store shopping personas. Here are a few possibilities:
Organizing shoppers in this way can help the retailer plan targeted marketing campaigns, alter the product and its packaging, decide budgeting, and more.
In the digital sphere, personas can be based on shopping behavior, too. But don’t limit your thinking; personas can also be based on demographics, location, job titles, or any other number of online traits or behaviors. Ultimately, the most effective personas correspond to the factor that most impacts the decision to purchase.
Tip: Look at your competitors’ data as well as your own.
See more advice on how to use data to build your buyer personas in our guide, How to Build a Buyer Persona with Data.