Most of us marketing folk will have heard of YUPPIES, WOOPIES and DINKIEs and this month’s latest persona acronym is the much loved “YOLDie” – i.e. Young Old Person. A lot of organisations will embrace an awareness of these marketing personas and I’ll bet marketers have fun thinking of new acronyms and how best to market to them.
But – I’m worried that it’s all too easy to get comfortable with a tone of voice and approach to marketing to one audience, forgetting how different your main segments might be. Based on my regular fix of industry news and articles I’m not the only one thinking about this either.
You might already think you are wholeheartedly on your personas’ wavelengths, but when was the last time you consciously thought about what your personas are “in to”? Or, if new personas are loving what you have to offer? Or, when was the last time you wrote some content whilst consciously thinking about the personas you are most trying to appeal to?
Hats off to marketers who are on top of everything – it’s not easy – and if you’re not 100% there, then perhaps the rest of this post will motivate you to check in and review your persona strategies.
Think beyond the acronyms
There are lots of fun acronyms that will sum up the demographic profile for your personas, but pigeonholing your customers into YUPPIE, DINKIE or WOOPIE shaped boxes won’t get you the best results. These can be a great starting point, just don’t forget to think about, and look at, the data for a number of other traits, including psychographic factors:
By understanding what matters to your persona groups, we can be empathetic of their priorities and address them with key messages that matter most. Depending on their demographic characteristics (age, marriage status, if they have children etc) your personas will most likely value money, careers, family, health, happiness, security etc differently to other demographic groups. A married woman in her mid thirties, with children will most likely value family and job security differently to an independent twenty-something who has few financial commitments and lots of disposable income.
Persona lifestyles will also be influenced by demographic trends and the associated personal values. Understanding how people live - their day to day, week to week or general routines - can tell marketers a lot about how people spend money and invest in what you are offering them. Appreciating if someone’s lifestyle is busy, active leisurely, relaxed, sociable or lonely can help brands think about when might be best to interact with personas, and how to go about it. Trying to catch the attention of a busy working mum needs to be thought about differently than engaging with a teenager who is halfway through the summer holidays, desperate for things to do.
Will people’s demographic, common values and lifestyle change how they make buying decisions? – most definitely. A busy city worker who values convenience and has plenty of disposable income probably won’t over think what they are going to have for dinner each night of the week but on the other hand, you might have a penny-pinching, OAP who spends most evenings alone and has the time and generational mindset to carefully plan ahead and sensibly shop for their mid-week meals. Now these might seem like sweeping statements to make, but there will be ways you can research and crunch data to find any trends, no matter how stereotypical, or surprising they might be. Google’s own research bank – Think with Google – is a great reference point for trusted and easy to digest data.
Device and Time of Day Usage
Another indicator of behaviour comes from how and when people are visiting your site and matching this with the above factors, bridging the gap for targeting the right people at the right time, in the right places, on the right devices and with the right content. Use Google Analytics to pull apart time and device patterns – plus with Insights data from Doubleclick tags you will even be able to match these patterns to age groups and Google Affinity Segments - Google’s own classifications of interests and topics that your visitors have. With data like this, GA really is more powerful than ever before when it comes to understanding your audience beyond what they do on your site.
Preferred Social Channels
Understanding who your personas are and how to reach them can be extended into social media. Information about who likes using what social channel is openly available and as advertising options roll out, the targeting options mean that understanding all of these factors will make for more cost effective campaigns. For instance, you know that your priority persona mostly engages with Facebook and Pinterest: Using your GA data you can see what devices and time of day they are most likely to be reachable. By understanding their values and interests you can then engage with them using the most relevant campaigns that will improve their perceptions of your brand, not just what you have to sell.
Finally, Personas should be unique to your organisation
With all of these traits in mind you can appreciate many different groups of customers and how they live their day to day life, so you’ll find it easier to understand how decisions about what you sell fit into this routine. Define your most valuable personas and focus on improving business opportunities here and because you will have taken time to carefully outline who your personas are, you’ll be giving them fun, unique names in no time.
Some of my favourite client personas include “Super Mums”, “Fun-Seeking Ski Bums”, “Hipster Post-Graduates” or “Dedicated Future Home Owners” – these names might sound a little ridiculous but I know exactly what customers each group represents, making campaign planning more efficient and effective than ever before.
So, what are you waiting for? Go away and have a go yourself – you’ll find it more fun, revealing and interesting that you ever imagined!