Yes, do take it personally

Published: Wednesday May 26, 2010

We've been putting a lot out on social media in the last month about personas, but you may still be asking:

What exactly is a persona???

Personas represent a key element of marketing, and it's quite simple really: a persona is a fictional personality produced to represent a group of consumers of a certain brand or product. 

Sounds a bit like segmentation? 

Well athough there are similarities, the uses of segmentation and personas are quite different.

A little bit about segmentation

When properly created, segments are developed using large amounts of quantitative research to encompass large groups of people with shared characteristics such as demographics/ geographic location/ job title.
From the information gleaned, marketers can create statistical data and percentages from their targeted campaigns and research.

What segmentation lacks is rich qualitative insight into areas like personal experiences, goals and aspirations, customer journeys.

The make-up of a persona

In a similar way to segmentation, personas take into account several traits that are shared amongst a group of consumers such as:

- demographics
- age
- location
- gender
- ethnicity
- income
- interests & hobbies
- goals
- skills
- views

Incorporated into these traits is the granular qualitative insight gained through in-depth interviews and focus groups. This is built into a character, and from this a persona is created.

Using this persona, every element of your campaign can be tailored to your customers' wants, needs, desires, and can even ensure that you consider what may irritate your target group.

Let's be practical; how can personas be used in real life?

In retail marketing for example, personas are a highly valuable tool when marketing to your core audience.

Retailers can use personas to connect with customers' and prospects' interests and predict:

- how a consumer will react to trends 
- what should you be telling them about and how
- what their campaign design preferences will be
- how they will interact with your brand once they've communicated with you
- social media communication
- what social media platform you should you be using 
- what tone of voice you should use
- what stories and images will your target personas may be interested in viewing

Regardless of what you're trying to communicate, personas can be used to inform huge amounts of your campaign style simply by putting yourself in your customers' shoes.

Unless you know how to target your customers or prospects, you won't achieve your potential.

So what's the lesson?

The most efficient way of recognising how to tailor not just your marketing but your product is to build yourself a buyer persona. This is something that we do quite well, so if you'd like some help or just to run something past us, email

Our retail personas infographic will be revealed soon. Keep your eyes peeled, or follow us @GBGmarketing on Twitter to be one of the first to see it!

Jools Barsky
Cleanse & Engage Marketing

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