Marketing personas vs target markets for unbound marketing

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As emotional human beings we demand our individuality – so why doesn’t traditional marketing accurately reflect this? Marketing personas attempt to put a face and emotions to the facts of a target market group. Marketing personas are method actors allowing us to step over and experience life in our buyer’s shoes at a much more intimate level. But before we get too emotional let’s review the foundation of Marketing Personas – Target Markets.

The Origin of the Persona:

You may or may not be more familiar with “target markets”, the predecessor of the marketing persona. Target markets have long held rein over marketing land and are best defined as groups of individuals that are separated by distinguishable and noticeable aspects. The following aspects can separate target markets:

  • geographic segmentations, addresses (their location climate region)
  • demographic/socioeconomic segmentation (gender, age, income, occupation, education, household size, and stage in the family life cycle)
  • psychographic segmentation (similar attitudes, values, and lifestyles)
  • behavioral segmentation (occasions, degree of loyalty)
  • product-related segmentation (relationship to a product)

In the good old days marketers would make educated guesses about who their target market was based on available information, test that hypothesis and hope they got it right. Before the days of tell-all Google analytics, Facebook user data and hashtags, marketers poured over surveys, census data and Nielsen Ratings. The process stills holds value today but is faster and more accurate thanks to the technology available to the marketing and business industries.

Enter the Persona

Personas pick up where the target market ends. Diving deeply into psychographic and behavioral segmentation, personas describe a target market group in the terms of an individual – who might define that group of consumers for the brand. When developing a persona, the following aspects of the buyer’s statistics and personality need to be addressed:

  • Basic details about persona’s role
  • Key information about the persona’s company
  • Relevant background info, like education or hobbies
  • Gender
  • Age Range
  • HH Income (Consider a spouse’s income, if relevant)
  • Urbanicity (Is your persona urban, suburban, or rural?)
  • Buzz words
  • Mannerisms
  • Habits
  • Persona’s primary goal
  • Persona’s secondary goal
  • Primary challenge to persona’s success
  • Secondary challenge to persona’s success
How we can help
  • How you solve your persona’s challenges
  • How you help your persona achieve goals

What Personas can do for your Marketing?

Whether you are a small business or a Fortune 500 – every business can benefit from understanding its buyer personas. By being able to understand your buyers’ pain points, you can uncover ways your company can solve problems, enhance experiences and create brand loyalty.

By understanding your buyers’ habits – where they get information, how they spend their free time and what matters most – the marketer can spend time creating a marketing strategy that places messaging where their buyers will discover it.

Buyer personas help marketers create messaging strategies and purchasing funnels to help qualify leads for sales – spending time nurturing sales that lead to closings, not wasting time on leads that will not perform at this time. If any action in your integrated marketing strategy doesn’t lead back to a well-defined persona, something is amiss!!

Want to learn more about marketing personas or develop your own? Download our Marketing Persona Worksheet to get started! 

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