If you have not read the first chapter on the basics of digital marketing, you can read it here.
In the last chapter, we talked about the journey through the marketing funnel, from brand and product awareness to taking action after the purchase phase.
In this chapter, we will be talking about the customer persona and how companies make use of it to craft and sell their products and services.
What Is A Customer Persona?
A customer persona is a representation of your perfect customer based on market research and real data about your potential and existing customers. Multiple customer personas can exist for a company or even for a single product.
A customer personal can also be known as
- Buyer persona
- Consumer persona
- User persona
- Audience persona
- Marketing persona
A customer persona is more detailed than a target audience as it also attempts to analyze and make use of the psychographics of their customers.
Why Are Companies Building Customer Personas?
After identifying their ideal customer persona, companies will be able to understand our wants, needs and what makes us tick. A name is even given to the persona to make them like a real person.
There is also a focus on psychographics like motivations, fears and goals. Once the company can identify what makes motivates and scares us, they will be able to influence us emotionally.
With Facebook’s lookalike audiences and Google’s similar audiences, Facebook and Google use their algorithm to build a customer persona on their end using data points captured from the company’s followers and current customers. They can then look for potential customers that fit the customer persona and feed them ads.
Companies can make use of the customer personas they create for the following purposes
- Product and service development and improvement
- Crafting targeted marketing
- Locating potential customers (e.g. offline, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, etc)
- Customer behavioural analysis (what they do look for when they need help, where do they look for new products, which influencers do they trust)
A Customer-Centric Future
The consumer should be in the middle of a company’s business model. Companies should not guess what their customers need but actually involve them in the product development process. Without understanding the goals, challenges, and motivations of the customer, marketing and sales efforts are shots in the dark and product development is done in vain.
With a customer persona, it will allow the product development team to understand who they are creating products for and what type of products should be created.
Successful products generate more feedback loops, allowing the brand to create a strong following, earn more feedback, data and insights to create new and better products.
How To Build A Customer Persona?
There are many customer persona templates out there. I will just use one that I have used during my marketing class.
Source: Single Grain
A customer persona can include the following components
- Hobbies & interests
- Common objections
- Biggest fears
To fill in the template, companies will need data either from market research or from data that they own.
Sources of data can include
- Website user personal and transaction data (e.g. google analytics)
- Focus groups
- Facebook audience insights
Facebook Audience Insights
Getting data from Facebook audience insights deserves a section by itself. Companies can get aggregated information from two groups of people – Facebook users and people connected to the company’s page.
As mentioned in Chapter 1, all Facebook users are being profiled. Companies can then identify the customer persona of their followers and then craft marketing messages that resonate with them. The stronger the resonation, the more likely you will make the purchase or share the messages with your friends.
Using the profiles of their current followers, they will also be able to target potential customers with similar profiles that are not yet their followers.
Here are some of the pages on the Facebook Audience Insights page. I will select the population of Singapore as a filter to the data.
If you have an existing business page, you will be able to further narrow it down to people in Singapore that are followers of your page. For the purpose of discussion, we will assume that the whole of Singapore follows our page.
Facebook’s purpose is to provide a platform for companies to advertise and sell things to you. There is very little value Facebook can provide to you as an individual. Do yourself a favour and delete Facebook.
Under the demographics tab, companies will be able to breakdown their followers into
- Age and Gender
- Relationship Status
- Education Level
With this information, they will be able to identify customer segments to target and craft customer personas for them.
Example Of Using Demographics
With a limited budget, you would like to identify the main demographic that your page has. You see that the ages 25 – 34 and 35 – 44 make up more than 50% of your followers. Individuals that are married also make up more than 50% of your followers. 69% are also university graduates.
The demographic identified would be married individuals in Singapore aged 25 – 44 that have a university degree.
Your product, pricing and marketing messaging should appeal to this demographic that you have identified.
Under the Page Likes tab, companies would be able to identify the categories that their followers like the most and also the actual pages that they like.
You will then be able to get ideas on how to market your products.
Example Of Using Page Likes
We can see from the analysis that app pages like Fave and Shopee are the second most popular category amongst our followers. Also from the Page Likes, a lot of our followers like Fave. The Body Shop also appears very high on the rankings.
We need to make sure that our offerings are available on Fave and perhaps work with Fave to collaborate or cross advertise on their page. Looking at what The Body Shop is doing with their marketing and their product line, we will also be able to generate some ideas for our business.
Source: The Body Shop
We can see that the marketing messaging for The Body Shop is focusing on self-love. So we can also do something about self-love or empowerment on our page since a lot of our followers also follow The Body Shop.
Companies will be able to see where their followers are located. Singapore isn’t a very good example as we are very small so the different regions are not very differentiated. Marketers will target the entirety of Singapore as a user in Tampines is not that different from another user in Jurong.
If you compare this to the US, there can be a difference across the population between different states.
Example Of Using Location
For discussion’s sake, we will assume most of our audience stays in Bedok, Jurong, Tampines and Woodlands as they have the highest percentages amongst the individual regions.
We can target the 4 locations identified by offering free delivery to these locations or even prioritize these locations in opening physical stores.
Under the Activity tab, companies will be able to see what their average follower in the last 30 days and over their lifetime. They will also be able to identify the devices and operating system of their followers.
Example of Using Activities
From the frequency of activities block, we can see that a typical Singaporean click on 18 ads in the last 30 days. This means that we can consider advertising on Facebook. Every click is a chance of converting consideration into action.
We also see that 74% of our users are using mobile and 99% are using android/ios/mobile browser. We need to make sure our content is optimized for the small mobile screen. If we have any website or apps, they must work well on mobile.
Examples Of Using Customer Personas In Advertising
Singaporeans have one of the highest saving’s rates in the world so we are always looking for places to increase their returns.
I have been seeing a lot of investment gurus advertisements on their courses on YouTube so I have recreated and paraphrased their marketing messages so that I do not get sued.
You also need to understand that attending a few days to a week’s worth of lessons is not enough. Financial planning, personal finance and investing have a long learning process. I cannot say whether these gurus are successful or not. However, you have to know that these courses are packaged and condensed so that they can easily be taught in the classroom in a short period of time. Are they using the same skill set they teach you in obtaining their own success? Are they making the majority of their income from teaching you or from course fees?
My thoughts on all these courses are that you should exhaust all free resources online and on books before even considering attending these courses. You can also participate in forums and communities like Seedly Questions to ask any questions you might have for free. After gaining all the knowledge that is available for free, you will realize that these courses do not provide the amount of value that you previously thought they will provide.
Now I will talk about how their messaging appeal to their targeted customer personas.
Customer Persona Targeting Parents
In this ad, they show a pair of celebrity parents talking about how their children are growing up. One of their children is even going to university. So they have to start planning for their finances and start investing to prepare for the future for both themselves and their children.
First, the ads make use of celebrities to increase credibility.
Second, they prey on the guilt that parents should be responsible and prepared for the family’s future finances. They can start investing for their children’s education and also for their retirement so that they can be financially secure without depending on their children.
Customer Persona Targeting Elderly
In this ad, a professional-looking female course instructor talks about how Warren Buffett made a majority of his wealth after his 64th birthday. The banner also mentions that this course can help you create a second income with them.
First, they name drop one of the richest people on earth to build authority.
Second, they are trying to say that it is never too late to start investing. Even if you are in your sixties, you will be able to make similar gains and multiply your wealth just like the Oracle of Omaha. If you can make that much, you will also be able to lose a similar amount.
Third, they mention that you can create a second income by investing now. Having a second income can complement our salary or CPF Life distributions and provide more financial stability. While it is true, it is also possible to lose your capital, especially when investing at such an old age. An older person simply does not have enough time to ride out the volatility in the market.
Customer Persona – Newbie
In this ad, they show a young person making twice his salary by just trading for 4 hours. This trade was made during the recession and it was under the supervision of experts.
First, they are trying to say that everyone can do it. Even for those without experience, you will be able to make similar gains.
Second, it only takes a short time to make a high gain. You can do it on the side while you can continue with your normal life.
Third, you will not feel lost as you will have an expert to help guide you to make those gains.
So, Are Customer Personas Bad?
If companies can make use of customer personas to better serve their customers, it is a good thing for society. Better products that meet the needs of customers increases the utility we get and also reduces waste. Creating resonating messages that help empower individuals or support causes is also really useful.
Don’t Let Them Tell You What You Need
Take a step back and analyze the purchasing decision without looking at the marketing message. I have a PAIR – purchase evaluation checklist that you can make use of to think through your purchase decisions.
Companies create customer personas to better understand their customers. This allows them to craft products that customers need and marketing messages that influence the viewer emotionally. Be aware of how marketing messages are crafted to appeal to you. Do not make purchases based on external factors like marketing but based on your needs.
Oh ya, delete Facebook.
Start from Chapter 1 on the Power of Digital Marketing here.
In the next chapter, I will talk about how various marketing tactics are employed to affect customer behaviour.
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Check out my Breaking The Marketer’s Code series here
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