Create a Customer Persona for Better Marketing

Create a Customer Persona for Better Marketing

Have better marketing by creating a customer persona

photo credit: Sharon Drummond via photopin cc

I talked a while back about getting to know your customers and I’ve been reading David Meerman Scott’s book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR. In the book, Scott encourages businesses to create a customer profile, or as he calls it, a customer persona, to use for creating business and marketing action plans. Targeting these personas is what makes marketing for your business more effective. I couldn’t agree more.

So how does one create a marketing persona? Read on to find out.

I was talking with a friend and she was conveying her frustrations with how her employer markets his business.

“He has an ideal client for whom he’s trying to target,” she said, “But he hasn’t even taken the time to know the customers he already has.”

Basically what she’s saying is that he’s wasting his money. I agree.

Businesses that don’t have an understanding of their customer base frequently use a one-size-fits-all marketing approach and it often is for nought. In The New Rules of Marketing & PR, David Meerman Scott points out that:

“Companies that are successful with direct-to-consumer news release strategies write for their buyers. The blogs that are best at reaching an organizational goal are not about companies or products but rather customers and their problems”

Yahtzee! So again, he emphasizes the importance of knowing your customers and developing a persona. The goal is to create a persona that when marketed to, the buyer seeing your message is able to say, “yes, that’s me – I’m their customer.”

Questions to Answer

The goal of the persona is to know as much as possible about your potential customer. Here are some suggested questions to ask to identify your target persona:

  • What makes them tick?
  • What are there turn on’s and turn off’s?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their problems and how can our business solve them?
  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • How do they search for answers to their problems?
  • How do they speak? (Short and sweet or long and verbose?)
  • What kind of income do they have?
  • What media do they consume? (Online, books, magazine, TV, radio, etc.)


  • You have to talk to your customers and ask them questions. If they were going to look for your business, what search terms would they use? Interviewing people in your assumed target persona is going to yield you the best results.
  • What publications do they read? Look at the keywords and phrases these books / magazines / etc. use.
  • What conferences, seminars, or other events do they attend? What keywords are used in the conference literature?

Putting it Together

Once you have an understanding of your customer persona, you can put together a narrative that describes who they are, what their pain points are, and how your company’s products or services solve their problem.

Here’s a sample of what could be one of my customer personas:

John Smith is a small business owner who is looking to grow his business, but has limited resources to do so. John has been reading a lot about social media as a marketing vehicle, but doesn’t really understand the inner workings of the technology or how it pertains to his business. He has dabbled in using social media, but hasn’t seen the success he expects, especially given the time he needs to devote to it. John’s business has revenue in excess of $400,000 per year and he has a couple of dedicated employees. He reads publications such as Inc., Entrepreneur, and Forbes and spends two hours or more per day online (after work of course).

John is willing to pay a modest monthly retainer to a company to manage his social media marketing efforts for him, freeing him and his employees up to concentrate on other aspects of his business.

As you can see, the persona is specific and even uses a name to help humanize the persona. It gives you an opportunity to walk in their shoes and see what their pain points are and how you can fix them. The example above typifies my ideal customer in that I focus on small businesses; I offer a variety of marketing services including social media management; he knows he needs to be doing social media, but doesn’t know how to really get started which is something I can help him with. And that’s just one example of a customer persona I could use.

Bear in mind, you may have several different customer personas that are appropriate for your business. Once you’ve created a persona, you can tailor your marketing plans around that persona. That way, you at least have a plan of who you’re targeting and aren’t wasting money on a one-size-fits-all strategy.

Now it’s your turn. Share a customer persona from your business in the comments below. Let’s discuss!

Disclosure of Material Connection

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