15 Reasons Why Persona Development Matters to Your Marketing

Aug 23, 2018 | 4  min
author Allegra Korver

Getting the word out about your product or service can be simultaneously simple and complex. But no matter where you are in the process of putting your marketing strategy into action, persona development is critical.

Even though it may be tempting to skip persona development in the midst of all your other competing priorities, doing so may cost you more than time; it might end up costing you leads, new sales, and recurring revenue.

“Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers.”- Hubspot

If you’re looking to build stronger connections with your customers and motivate them to become engaged, loyal fans, you have to put in the work it takes to understand them and clearly communicates the value of your products or services in ways that resonate with them.

Here are 15 reasons why every marketer should develop personas as part of their marketing strategy:

1. Brands should be built on personas

“I’ve got a great idea: let’s start a business. We’ll name it after my dog, and we’ll sell everything I like and we’ll make a lot of money.” Not going to happen. What does the market actually want? Instead, start with understanding potential customers before you start your business or launch your next product or service.

2. Persona development forces you to look at data

Data can be your best friend when it comes to making tough decisions. Instead of guessing about who your customers are, or relying on outdated assumptions, take time to investigate the facts and learn more about your customers.

3. Customers are real people

Who likes being treated like a number? Or worse… a dollar? Customers are more than transactors; they’re real people with struggles, dreams and needs. Make sure your marketing efforts are taking the human situation into account.

4. Engagement is better than reach

By trying to reach everyone, well-meaning marketers often end up communicating a diluted message that yields lackluster results. Persona development enables marketers to see past audience ambiguity to the real people they want to communicate with, increasing the likelihood that they’ll make a motivational connection with customers. One caveat — sometimes reach is exactly what you need. We can help with that too.

5. The buyer’s journey should focus on buyers

Persona development is native to building out a buyer’s journey. What gets Pam from point A to B? Taking time to understand Pam’s unique challenges and goals helps you reach and influence Pam at key decision points along her journey toward purchasing your product or service.

The 5 C’s of Persona Development

  • Conduct research 
  • Compile results and document 
  • Clarify messaging and communications
  • Carefully engage with customers
  • Close deals

6. Clarified internal communications

Personas are essentially characters in your organization’s larger sales narrative. As you develop personas and communicate with others about them, they take on a life of their own, making it easier for you and your team to better empathize with them and discuss how to reach them.

7. Smarter email campaign segmentation

Email remains a powerful conversion driver. If you develop quality personas on the front end, it’s going to be easier to segment your audience into targeted recipient groups. The result? Better opportunities for engagement.

8. The big picture and character development

Storytelling in marketing circles has been popular for some time, and it’s not just a fad. Stories are part of who we are and how we make sense of the world around us. If a campaign is like a novel, personas are like the characters in the novel. The focus and action center on them. Does your marketing?

9. Identifying pain points

Not everyone will respond to your offerings the same way every time. One person feels disorganized so they download a time management app while the next person feels totally organized but can’t find a time management app that works AND looks good. Without persona development, how will you identify these pains and alleviate them?

10. Understanding customer aspirations

“Manage time more effectively.” “Get better at basketball.” Marketers need to understand who their customers are, where they want to be, what they want to achieve, and how their products and services can help them see their aspirations come to fruition. Developing personas is a great way to align your goals with their goals.

11. Social media platform alignment

What works for millennials on Snapchat is probably not going to work for Baby Boomers on Facebook. Personas help you match the right message to the right people on the right social media platforms.

12. Digital marketing strategies thrive on persona development

By harnessing the power of email, social media, digital analytics and more, it’s easier than ever to learn about customer behavior and measure marketing ROI. Keep your customers in view as you get tactical with your next digital marketing strategy.

13. Delighting the people behind the purchase

Tempted to forget about your customers once they make a purchase? Leverage persona information to launch delight campaigns to say thanks, promote special offers, and drive them to further engagements with your products and services. Delighted, happy customers are some of the best promoters you’ll ever encounter.

14. Products should match persona interests

What could be more fundamental to your marketing than your product? Trick question. Personas are equally important and should actually inform product offerings. Are your products engaging and relevant to a defined set of personas?

15. Refining differentiators

Setting your business apart from the pack takes skill and competitive analysis. Instead of sorting out differentiators in a vacuum, apply what you know about your personas to the task. Is (fill in the blank) a relevant differentiator for (persona)? If not, consider product and messaging adjustments to match their interests.

When it comes to your marketing mix, the benefits of persona development cannot be overstated! As you set out to build personas for your business, you’ll gain added insights into customer motivations and you’ll be better equipped to communicate with them in ways that resonate with their interests.

Even if you’re convinced of the benefits above, persona development can be a daunting task. Thankfully, we have a lot of experience in persona research and development, and we’d love to help you leverage this powerful tool for your individual needs. Let’s chat!

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

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