How To Build Marketing Personas

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OMG you guys! It’s our first blog of 2023. It felt fitting to focus on identifying your customer base and what influences them to buy or interact with your business. Plus you get to make up fictional people and it’s a lot of fun.

We’ve talked about this before because it’s really important for businesses to take the time to research and segment customers and their specific needs, behaviors and concerns.

Why They’re Important

Survey Monkey explains why they’re so critical to your business. Personas put a name and face to a particular segment of your target audience. It turns a set of characteristics into a fictional buyer like “Busy Bertie,” the customer who never has free time, or “Careful Callie,” the customer who wants to know everything about your product before she makes a purchase. While these fictional personas don’t describe every buyer in a segment, they provide an example of who your customers could be in real life.

This then allows you to personalize your marketing message and tactics based on Bertie or Callie. The more targeted your tactics and messaging, the more likely you’ll influence a sale. 

Here are a few stats from Single Grain to really drive our point home about highly targeted content. When content was targeted to a specific persona in this study…

  • Websites were 2-5x more effective.
  • Personalized emails had a 14% higher click-through rate.
  • Conversion rates were 10% higher.

Building Personas

Now for the fun part. Let’s dig into who your customers are. There are multiple ways to go about collecting the data to build your personas. It can range from including focus groups, experiments, interviews and surveys.

No matter the method or multiple ones you choose, it comes down to the questions.

  • What is their profession?
  • What does a typical day look like?
  • Where do they get their news or information?
  • How do they prefer to make purchases? Online? In-person?
  • What is important to them when choosing a company to buy from?
  • What influences them to buy? Company values? Price point? 
  • What was their most recent purchase?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What are their goals? (this can seem a bit broad but you want to gather personal info, so customize as needed)

Once you’ve gathered all the data and analyzed it, it’s time to get building. Here is an example we built for one of our clients. 

Be sure to build personas for each market segment, including the customers you don’t want. We have one built for 8THIRTYFOUR and he is older, white, a control freak and wants to be overly involved in every aspect of marketing, but doesn’t have the skill set or knowledge base to meaningfully contribute. In other words, he’s a real pain in the ass.

We dropped a sample chart below that can be downloaded and filled in. Start with background on the individual, like “Busy Bertie just wants it to be easy.” She’s got enough on her plate with a full-time job, a lazy husband, 2 young kids and 3 dogs. The last thing she needs is a complicated purchasing process. She’ll spend more if it’s easy and fast. She needs it yesterday, not in 2 weeks, and she needs to be kept up-to-date. Chances are she’ll forget she even made a purchase if updates aren’t sent.

Pain Points
Information Channels
Desired Content Types
Desired Messaging Tone

Now What?

Now that you’ve built them, they will come. 

Okay, it’s not that easy, obvs. You need to build messaging and tactics that will reach each of your personas, and then roll them out company-wide. 

You need to get microscopic and dig into the tiniest details and make sure billing, HR, sales, customer service and everyone else are trained on each of your customers and how to respond to them. Be sure to measure leads, customer feedback and more throughout the entire rollout.

Personas are living documents that need to be constantly updated, reviewed and adapted. 

It can be a complicated process, but the reward is worth it. We can help.

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