An old marketing adage states that trying to attract customers without first drawing a picture of your target demographic is analogous to attempting to kill a fly with a cannon. The fly will most likely continue to drive you to the edge of crazy, and your wall will be in ruins. A no-win situation for all, right?
Campaigns of yesteryear used demand as a barometer to measure the 20% of clients who generated 80% of the profits. Today’s world is far noisier, and content marketing has risen from the ashes of the information age as the surest way to connect with our overloaded brains. And, as marketing adapts, this new way has a corresponding new buzzword: target personas. These fellas go beyond traditional demographic definitions to measure consumers’ budget, existing and perceived needs, purchase readiness and buying timelines.
As online campaigns have been tailored around native marketing – a strategy that casts sales-oriented prose aside in favor of content that begs to be read – target personas have been pushed to the foreground. Since all content cannot appeal to all readers, your brand’s content must connect with the persona that will drive your profits skyward.
Sketching an Outline
The strategy of forming a target persona may sound cerebral but, in practice, practicality lends itself to the process.
For businesses that have been around the block several times (in the classiest way possible, of course), building market personas and service areas reeks of simplicity. Using the 80/20 rule, create an analytic of repeat buyers, sketching up a picture that includes where they work, what they earn, how they buy, what their needs are, where they live, etc. Remember, in today’s seemingly unlimited marketplace, your potential isn’t limited by the ceiling of existing needs; invented needs are also on the table.
For start-ups, etching out buyer personas is more complex. Typically, the approach is inverted. Content is created first, and then, by measuring repins, shares, and comments, you can discover what content sparks engagement from your clients. You can also reach back in time for traditional market research tactics, such as actually talking with clients, to help speed along this process.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Once you’ve drawn up general personas, be sure to flesh them out by assessing their most pressing needs and desires, the brand elements that they find credible, and the type of content they value most.
Whether you’re an established business or a start-up, once you’ve outlined your personas, you can clear the clutter from your content marketing strategy and allow your clients’ voices to permeate your online marketing efforts.
When it comes to marketing, effort and desire are feeble substitutes for purpose-driven strategy. Unarticulated goals such as wanting to generate 50 inbound marketing leads or claiming a top spot in the Google search results page only signal your desire to reach others. However, you can shift from desire to action by drawing comprehensive profiles of your target audience. Remember: detailed personas lead to content that resonates.