November 22, 2022
3 Steps To Building Useful Customer Personas

Knowing your customer is the key to any successful marketing campaign or brand. Without a deep and true understanding of who you are selling to, you will never get it right. 

Sounds easy, right? 

Some say that they sell to “everyone” and some sell to “people like me” but in reality, the human species is nuanced and varied that you can’t be so broad brush about your target market. 

Most businesses are created to solve a problem and usually, your target market is full of people who have that same problem. 

For example, we know that many business owners don’t have the time for or the knowledge about marketing but it is crucial for their business. This is the problem Jetpack Marketing solves.

But even within this group, they will have different ways of looking for a solution. Some might be price sensitive, some might have a bigger problem than others and there might be added benefits you can offer to sweeten the deal for a small section too.

Because of this, you need to deeply understand your target market and we’re going to show you 3 steps to build your next customer persona 👇

Step 1 - Forget everything you know about creating personas

We’re aware that this may seem like a really odd place to start but trust us. To be able to build customer personas in a useful and modern way, you need to come at it with a fresh perspective and that means unlearning all the things we were once told. 

Customer personas that used to identify your target market as ‘John, 45, father of two teenagers and is a plumber’ are dead and useless. 

Besides knowing that John is probably going through the wringer with teenage kids, we haven’t actually learned much about him, have we?

This step is all about building personas that are useful in day-to-day marketing. Your customer personas are not there to just look good on paper in a business plan, they need to be at the core of your marketing activity. 

For the personas to be useful, you need detailed information that helps to shape your campaigns, marketing channels and messaging. 

Imagine that we are a beer company, John could be our target consumer but just knowing his age and his occupation is not enough for us to build a marketing campaign. 

Ideally, we would want to know:

  • Where John drinks beer
  • How much he spends on beer
  • How often he drinks beer
  • What activities does he do when drinking beer
  • If he is a canned beer drinker or if he prefers a pulled pint
  • If he likes his beer brewed in the UK

You get the gist. This information is so much more useful for us when building marketing campaigns than whether John works 5 days a week or if he also paints his fingernails with his daughters.

Step 2 - Think of your personas as tribes

For a very long time, we’ve been conditioned to think of customer personas as simply individuals that we’re targeting but we think that is too basic. 

If you look to think of your personas as tribes, you will find people who have similar goals, needs and problems that your product or service can solve. 

Having a target market is not a bad thing, but if you have multiple tribes and build personas around those, you will find interlinking opportunities between John and Phil (a 25-year-old office worker). On the face of it, they might seem like different people but they might have the same beer-drinking habits and your product might solve the same problem for them both. 

Don’t get us wrong, you might decide that because John spends more time on Facebook and Phil on TikTok, you need different methods of communication BUT if they’re in the same tribe, the messaging and the solution you’re offering will be exactly the same.

So many of our problems, solutions, products and businesses now transcend age and gender that the old-school methodologies of building customers just don’t have the same impact. That’s not to say age and gender don’t feature within them, but they are not the overriding factors. Just look at Crocs, they’re super unisex but solve a common problem for those who want holes in their slippers!

Step 3 -  Don’t forget to factor in your marketing channels

This isn’t your fault, but customer personas are so often created in isolation during a strategic awayday and then pretty much forgotten about. 

Unfortunately, this is a one-way road to not making use of the personas in the correct way. 

When building these personas, you need to consider the marketing activities you are already involved in and what might need changing. 

For example, let’s say we are selling professional headphones online and we know that our tribes focus on sound quality and durability. You could have Anthony, 25, who is a musician and Steve, 60, who is a big audiophile and enjoys listening to music at home. 

Whilst they are both looking for the same thing, they might search for products in different ways and use different platforms. So to target Steve, you might need to engage with Facebook and Google, whilst with Anthony TikTok and Google could be a better bet. 

Adding these preferred channels into your persona and putting yourself in each consumer’s shoes will help blister your personas and give your teams much more t work with. Try to consider their journey and how you want to interact with them at each touch point. 

So in conclusion, your first step is to throw out the orthodox teachings of building personas. We are living in a new, fast and modern world so our personas and tribes have to reflect that. 

Try to consider the problems your consumers have and group them based on this before you jump to the basic demographics (age, location, gender). 

Always have your marketing activity in mind. Without it, your personas lack context and will never be good enough to transform your marketing campaigns. 

If you would like more information about building personas and strategising around your tribes, speak to one of our experts today!

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