How to write a marketing plan: Target Audience
In our latest blogs, we have been making our way through how to write a marketing plan.
We’ve already constructed a Situation Analysis, using a SWOT Analysis and a Competitor Analysis and now it’s time to home in on your Target Audience. To do this, we’ll be looking at how to develop your buyer personas to get a better insight into the types of consumers buying - and entertaining the thought of buying - your products or services.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional character that a company develops to represent a stereotypical customer. These personas are used as an insight into the types of customers your marketing material is trying to reach. With the detail and depth of a good buyer persona, you can distinguish where to focus your marketing efforts to attract the type of customers you’re looking for.
A buyer persona isn’t just a simple description. These profiles must be comprehensive. Integrating real-life examples and testimonials into your buyer personas will help you get to the bottom of what your customers are thinking to help you understand their attitudes, concerns, expectations, goals and the key factors that go into their purchase decisions.
Ultimately, buyer personas should give you the intel you need to speak to your customers on their terms in a way that illuminates the most appealing benefits to them. This not only piques the interest of the consumer, it enables you to build a close and familiar connection with the audience you are targeting. So, let’s look at the steps you can take to build your very own buyer personas.
Building a Buyer Persona
Building a strong buyer persona takes extensive research. You can draw upon your SWOT and Competitor analyses but you also need to dig deeper into your customer base to find out exactly how they feel. To do this, take some time to speak one on one with some of your customers, prospects and referrals to understand who they are and how they perceive your business.
Now, it’s all well and good to collate praise from happy customers but you also need to speak to those who have had a more turbulent experience. So, bite the bullet and be prepared to have difficult conversations, too.
Once you have completed your research, you should be able to categorise your findings into the following groups.
Here, you want to get as much general information as possible. The following socioeconomic questions should help you get a gauge on their current baseline lifestyle and will serve as the foundation of your buyer persona.
What is their gender?
How old are they?
Where do they live?
What is their level of education?
What did they study?
Where did they study?
What is their relationship status?
Do they have children?
What is their income range?
Next, you’ll need to understand a little more about their chosen profession. This can suggest a lot about their interests and background without having to delve too far into the specifics of likes and dislikes.
What industry do they work in?
What do they do for work?
What is their role title?
What does their day entail?
What skills do they use day to day?
What are they responsible for?
How many employees work at their company?
Do they work more than one job?
Goals are a really important thing to note. What they want will be significant to you when attempting to reach them on a personal level and building a close brand relationship. If you know what they want most in life, you are more likely to really reach them with your marketing material.
What do they want to achieve:
...within the year?
...in the next 5 years?
...in the next 10 years?
The motivations of your customers speak to the ‘why’ of their goals. Knowing why they want what they want helps you better understand how they think. When you understand how they think you are better able to sculpt your marketing to appeal to the right people.
What gets them up in the morning?
Why do they want to achieve [x]?
Your major role as a business is to solve a consumer problem. Without that problem, you wouldn’t be in business. It can be something as practical as providing a nail to a builder or providing home insurance to a first home buyer; or it can be something emotional, like making the customer feel better about themselves in the case of the cosmetic industry. Understanding the problem your product or service solves for your customers is essential before you start marketing. Different consumers are likely to have different challenges, so take the time to talk to each of your subjects about it.
What are the challenges they face?
How does that affect them from day to day?
Next, you need to figure out how to interact with your consumers. By taking a close look at their behaviour and preferences, you can get a better idea of how best to reach them. Behaviour refers to both how your customers act and react in terms of the day to day but also refers to their behaviour when interacting with your business.
What are three adjectives to describe their temperament?
If they were an emoji, which emoji would they be?
How do they search for products and services?
What’s their preference when interacting with salespeople?
Note down a real-life quote that encapsulates them as a consumer. This can be something they have said in an interview that summarises the buyer in a sentence or two. It can be directly related to their customer need, their challenges, their goals or their motivations. It should summarise what they want. For example, if Netregistry were to speak to a tradesperson about to launch his own business, they may say “Going out on my own is a little scary but exciting. I need to hit the ground running.” This hits the goal (“going out on my own”), the challenge (“a little scary”), the motivation (“but exciting”) and the customer need (to “hit the ground running”).
Once you have all this information, you can arrange it into an easy to read one-pager for your reference. You should build up about 3-8 different buyer personas to give you a range of target consumers to look at. In the meantime, if you have any questions at all about launching your business online or building up your digital marketing strategy for 2019, don’t hesitate to get in touch with an Online Solutions Advisor.