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Customer persona

A Customer Persona is a fictional person that represents your ideal prospect.

The process of creating a persona/s will help you better understand the powerful motivators that influence your target market to make buying decisions.

It’s important to be aware and focus on these because all customers are human beings and their decisions are based on their beliefs, fears and desires. These are often held deep in our subconscious mind.

Remember, we all buy emotionally and then justify logically. So, the best marketing is emotional lead and then logical.

The Customer Persona will also help fine tune your marketing efforts and help you understand why some services or products sell better than others. And, crucially, you’ll uncover vital gaps or conflicts in your marketing messages which you may be unaware of at the moment.

This one exercise can lead to a dramatic transformation in your marketing and business results.

The objective is to create a Persona that feels as real to you as a real person or an existing business.

Step 1 – Starting to build the Persona

For Business to Business (B2B) customers create a fictitious business that includes:

  • Name of the business
  • Industry
  • Annual Revenue
  • Number of employees
  • Location/s
  • Years in Business

Then think about some deeper characteristic:

  • Views on sustainability
  • What core values they have
  • Trends in the industry

But, even if you are B2B you will still be selling to an individual or group of individuals so create a fictitious person who buys from you:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Hair colour
  • Eyes
  • Weight
  • Education
  • Married
  • Children
  • Lives where
  • Profession/Industry
  • Job Title
  • Household Income

Step 2 – Add more detail

When you have these basic details, dig a little deeper:

  • How many years in current position
  • Current salary
  • How many jobs have they had
  • Political persuasion
  • Religious views
  • Personal interests and hobbies

Step 3 – a day in the life of a Persona

Then go through a typical day in the life of your ideal customer:

  • Favourite brands
  • What Websites do they visit?
  • Where do they get the news?
  • Source for industry or business news
  • What TV shows do they watch
  • What Radio station do they listen to?
  • Do they use Twitter?
  • Do they use Facebook?
  • Are they active on LinkedIn?
  • What other Social Media channels do they use?

Step 4 – Persona goals

Now you know more about them, and what their typical day looks like, it’s time to think about their goals:

  • Personal dreams, wishes and desires
  • Business objectives
  • Family commitments and responsibilities
  • Community and social drivers

Step 5 – Persona problems

Next it’s time to list the top three problems your ideal customer is having, which makes them an ideal customer for your business.

When you have these key problems in mind, think what is the worst thing that could possibly happen to your ideal customer if their problem isn’t eventually solved?

  • How would this make your customer feel?
  • How might their life partner react?
  • What would their friends think?
  • What could happen to their business or personal lifestyle?
  • What could be the financial consequences?
  • What could be the professional consequences?
  • What could be the personal consequences?
  • What is your customer secretly afraid of?

Now look at the best outcome or thing that could possibly happen to your ideal customer if their problem is solved?

What would their “perfect solution” look like?

What is it that they really want, more than anything else?

What would they be willing to pay almost anything for?

How can your product or service match up to your customer’s real needs and desires?

How can your business help solve your customer’s problems? What is it that you are trying to provide your customers?

The Persona Story

Once you have all the background and details you can bring your Persona to life with a short story.

Explain what impact a problem is having. How is this problem making your customer feel? What types of frustrations does your customer keep having? What does your customer need more than anything? How can your business best provide the product or service that’s needed most? Write down your story here. Make as many copies of this page as necessary, or use additional sheets of paper.

Quarterly and annual reviews

Include a review of your Customer Personas on a regular basis to make sure that your marketing efforts are directed to their needs and desires.

Image from Flickr by Nicolas Nova.

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