What are Digital Personas and How Useful are they to Businesses?

“A persona when properly developed and utilized is the primary catalyst for major digital marketing success.” (Kaufman , 2013)

But what exactly does a persona mean? And how can businesses use this to makethemselves more successful?

What are Digital Personas?

Source: Flickr Creative Commons Image

Source: Flickr Creative Commons

Digital Personas are archetypes that are created for actual buyers that make decisions about the products/services that a business sells. It represents the primary characteristics and the different user types of a particular group of customers, ideally the business’s target market. These personas are usually discovered through in depth research and detailed observation of a business’s existing or potential customers.

personas componentsEach persona is then used to create an imaginary customer profile, giving them a name, demographic details and a background in order to make them feel more realistic. Specific attributes  may include: demographic data, psychographic data, and webographic data such as web experience, usage platforms, and social media sites. By designing for a digital persona, whose behaviour is understood well, a business can satisfy the needs of a broader group of people represented by that persona.

Examples of possible personas for an online department store:

JamesLisaBobThese buyers all look for the same service, i.e. an online department store; however their needs, motivations, buying habits and preferences may be different from each other.

How are personas useful?

So a business has spent months carrying out research and observing customers, and has finally created suitable personas for its customers. Now, in what way is this beneficial to them?

Getting to know your customer

Customer

Source : MS Office Clip Art

Firstly, the primary use of personas is to gain a deeper  understanding of the customer and getting to know them better through the identification of their desires, motivations, goals and key traits.

Since personas are created based on the business’s accumulated knowledge about their actual or potential audience, by creating such specific  personas, businesses can model the buying behaviour of these customers, understanding why and how their buying takes place..

Creating effective campaigns and strategies

Developing Strategies

Source : MS Office Clip Art

By  understanding their customers, businesses can use this information to come up with effective strategies for marketing campaigns, creating websites, or even social interaction.

If a business is familiar with their customer persona, it will be easier for them to create a more relevant and targeted marketing message, as they will be able to understand what really matters to the customer based on psychographic data. Targeting customers’ needs and desires will make the business’s message more effective.

Customer personas can also help find what may be the most suitable media placement to attract customers, based on the personas behavioural data, such as their interests and social media activity. For example: this might help determine whether a business should advertise through social media, and if yes, which one would be the most appropriate?

Planning your content

‘The goal of creating personas is to get as close to one to one marketing as possible by delivering the right content to the right person at the best time and through the channel they prefer’ (Pollitt, 2013)

The creation of personas can be very helpful towards content marketing and content personalization Based on the needs, motivations and preference of the businesses’ customer persona, they will be able to make sure the content they have created, be it for a website or a social media platform, aligns well with their customer and is relevant enough for them to react and respond to positively.

Engaging your customers

Digital personas can be used to create smarter interactions with customers where customers become so satisfied that they could  become brand advocates.

By understanding the digital behaviour and activity of the customers through their persona, businesses can get an idea when and how is the best way to capture interaction. For instance, talking about topics that are relevant to customers, identified by the personas needs and goals, can help create effective interactions. Businesses can also incorporate relevant social topics into their social content and use an engagement approach that is relevant to their ideal customer persona, to improve their social media presence.

In conclusion, having such deep insight and detailed understanding of customers, gained through the use of personas, gives businesses the confidence to make its business and marketing decisions without any hesitation. While on the other hand, showing the customers that a business is interested in them, and understands their interests, helps build a strong trusting relationship between the business and the customer, as it creates an impression that the business really cares about them. This makes the customer more likely to choose that particular business over any other if they ever had to make a choice.

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References:

Pollit, C.,(2013). Embrace Digital Personas Now Before It’s Too Late, Social Media Today. Available: http://socialmediatoday.com/cpollittiu/1810251/embrace-digital-personas-now-it-s-too-late [Accessed 15th November 2013]

Kaufman, K., (2013). Digital Marketing 101: The Power of Personas & Why Understanding Your Audience is So Critical, Kaufer DMC. Available: http://www.kauferdmc.com/digital-marketing-101-the-power-of-personas-why-understanding-your-audience-is-so-critical/  [Accessed 15th November 2013]

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One thought on “What are Digital Personas and How Useful are they to Businesses?

  1. This was a post is very informational and made me think a lot about how important personas are to a business. I feel that every business should invest their time and resources into developing personas as even though the process may be long, I feel that the results gained from it are great.
    Besides the advantages mentioned I think that the development of personas is helpful to the business internally as well. As it gives the business a clear customer to focus on and target all their activity toward one persona, thus making their efforts more coordinated and more effective.
    Businesses can also base their entire marketing mix off these personas if needed as they will be able to judge how the potential customer is likely to react to the different elements and combinations of the mix.
    However, one concern that I would have if I were a business is, how accurate and specific can these personas that are created be, as they are merely just based on assumptions made by researchers. So can this information actually be trusted and will it be effective.

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