Every successful marketing campaign starts with knowing your audience. You cannot craft a marketing project that reaches out to your chosen demographic and draws them in to your product or service without understanding who they are and why they buy. By creating a marketing persona you visualize the customer in a credible way and begin to understand not just who they are and why they buy, but also their pain points and, more importantly, how to relieve them. When you have a persona to relate to, every piece of information you produce along the journey is relevant to them and applicable to their situation.

effective marketing begins with personasIt may be easy to underestimate the power of marketing personas, but consider this fact; many companies have limited marketing funds that have to be allocated to many marketing activities. Sadly budgets may have more persuasive power than the marketing campaigns do, but there is a way to help balance budgets and success, without compromising either.

Marketing or buying Personas greatly improve the return on investment (ROI) and refine the strategy of your marketing activities, making it a cost effective exercise as well as an empathetic one. By creating a persona then designing your campaign around the attributes of that persona, you are able to anticipate how your target customers think and react and be ready with strategies to guide them through their buying journey.

Creating a buyer persona helps in making objective planning. Effective content is designed for a specific target audience so the need to understand how that segment is likely to respond is imperative. A persona provides the context of your content and shapes how the information is gathered and presented, providing all the information you need to make objective decisions about your marketing message.

As you cast your net as wide as possible to catch as many of your demographic as possible it is inevitable that message dilution will result. As the message loses its clarity it will reach fewer people. A persona helps to focus the campaign to develop a strong brand that tailors the message to the market, creating an idea that resonates with the audience and is not diluted as it reaches straight in to your target audience at every touch point of the buying cycle.

After a persona is created it has to be mapped to the buying cycle or sales funnel at each step of the journey. By knowing your demographic through the eyes of your persona you are able to detail each step in their journey and can be prepared to overcome objections and relieve pain points at the right time. As you already have insight into their reactions you can be prepared with the activities that foster interaction and propel them through the journey skillfully and with confidence.

Personas are not only valuable in the sales/marketing cycle. They provide a blue print for all the resources that will be needed to help them make a purchase decision. The focus that a persona provides, enables the entire company to be on the same page.  Having alignment and common understanding makes for easier communications and expectations from all departments, and contributes to a coordinated sales process that is efficient and relevant to your buyer.

One common reason that marketing campaigns fail is that they have not looked at the project from an outside perspective. You may think you have had a great idea, but your marketing persona may say something very different. Personas help you ask the right questions of your demographic, but also of yourself. It can be the short cut to success if used properly. Unless you have constructed a credible buyer persona to focus your campaign right from the start you can very easily create something that is not relevant to your audience. That’s a very expensive mistake to make.

Knowing how to create an effective persona is just as important. Many personas fail because they are too superficial or are just a list of attributes and not an actual representation of your target buyer.

Personas are at their most useful when they bridge the gap between the customers anticipated experience on one side and your expectations of the customer on the other. If you fail to build that bridge, or neglect to use it, then you are in danger of alienating your audience before they have really gotten far enough into the buying cycle to be fruitful, causing a steady bleed of leads out of your sales funnel.

Taking the time to create a persona for your product or service is critical to providing the valuable tools that result in successful sales. They provide a path for your projects and help you keep your leads moving through their buying process by understanding them more fully. Whichever way you look at it, personas are a great ROI. They help you think better, plan better, and help grow revenue more efficiently.