How to Identify Your Audience Personas
 
Apr 22, 2016
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Identifying your consumers and audience into personas is an important step in the marketing process. Personas help you talk to your different customers on their level, according to their tastes and preferences, and based on where they are in their consumer cycle. That level of personalisation and customisation is what will set successful companies apart from their competition.

What are Audience Personas?

An audience persona, also known as a buyer persona, is fictional representation based in the reality of an actual ideal customer that is based on market research, media intelligence, and read data. Audience personas become a representation of a group of customers based on where they are in their buying cycle as well as their preferences, behaviours, and habits. When you identify your audience personas they can help you:

• Gain a better understanding of prospective customers.
• Help improve your messaging.
• Gain insight into your consumers’ behaviours.
• Understand your consumers’ preferences.
• Learn not just what your customers buy, but why they buy, when they buy, and what influences them to make a purchase.
• Identify new, potential customers based on the preferences of each persona.

Media Insights Tools and Buyer Personas

The amount of information you need to have when you begin the process of identifying audience personas can seem overwhelming. However, social media insight tools help make that job much easier by breaking down and identifying the key metrics you need and providing colour and detail to the persona you are working to attract. But that’s just one part of the buyer persona identification process. You must also know and outline your products and/or services. Here are some of the things you should ask yourself or identify about your products or services:

• What is the purpose of my product or service? What problem, if any, is it solving?
• What makes my product unique?
• Why do my current customers purchase from me?
• Where does my product sit in the broader industry and marketplace?

Blending Product Data and Media Intelligence to Build the Personas

When you have the information and start to actually build your personas, start with an actual customer at the centre of each persona that you build. Start by collecting these four basic areas of information about the customers:

1. Basic demographic information like age, income, gender, profession, living situation, and hobbies.
2. Usage information: mobile vs. desktop usage, buying habits, and time they purchase most frequently.
3. What is their motivation for their purchase?
4. Why do they purchase from you vs. your competition?

Buyer Personas in China’s Markets

With China holding such a huge space in the marketplace, there is a significant impact on your company’s buyer personas. In fact, if you sell in China, you should likely develop an entirely new set of buyer personas based on your customers living in China. McKinsey research shows how segmenting China’s 750 million digital consumers help you reach the ever-growing population in China. Not only is the large number of consumers a factor, but the varying changes in social, economic, and cultural behaviours impact their tastes, habits, and buying decisions.

Image Source: McKinsey.com

This is an example of different segments of consumers in China. It shows how widely each segment varies in their use of digital applications and devices. The seven segments in this sample are digital junkies, gamers, mobile mavens, info-centrics, basic users, traditionalists, and online traders. This doesn’t mean these would be the same as your segments, but this is a great example of how to create the audience personas.

Takeaways

Regardless of where you are when you are developing your buyer personas, there are a few rules you should stand by:

1. Don’t make up an audience persona.
2. Don’t mix up a buyer persona with a customer profile; it has to be more broad than that.
3. Your buyer personas should add insight into your marketing strategy.
4. Building personas isn’t only quantitative; it has to be a mix of qualitative data too.

Ultimately, creating these audience personas is going to help you communicate with and sell more efficiently to your current customers and potential new customers. This is an important aspect of today’s marketing mix. Educated consumers expect companies to deliver smart advertising to them when they want it, how they want it and in the content format they are interested in.

Bio: John Chalmers is Executive Director of Marketing and Communications at Isentia. Isentia monitors Asia-Pacific’s most comprehensive list of media across all channels: press, online, broadcast and social. http://www.isentia.com.cn/

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