Have you created your customer persona profile?

Andrew Ballard

Andrew Ballard

A few years ago I wrote a column — The Four Secrets to Marketing Success — that generated far more response than usual.

That feedback inspired me to provide more detail on the topic.

This is the first of a four-part series that breaks down the four fundamental truths of generating a greater return on marketing investment.

The four secrets to marketing success are as follows; and the sequence is important.

■ Target the right market;

■ With the right message;

■ Through the right media;

■ At the right moment.

I joke with colleagues and clients by saying, “You only need to do four things right to be wildly successful in marketing.

Market, message, media and moment…what could be more simple?”

Of course, doing all four things right is much easier said than done. Understanding these fundamentals is not difficult… therein lies the challenge of “doing them right.”

Secret number one — target the right market. I believe it’s obvious to many who run a business they need to target the right market if they want to sell their product or service.

My observation is, however, that few have a structured way of doing so. The tool many marketing experts use, including yours truly, to more effectively hone in on the most lucrative niche is called a Customer Persona Profile.

Before explaining how to develop your customer persona profile, I’ll debunk the common misconception about targeting.

The process of targeting a market is counter intuitive.

You’d think that the larger the market you target, the more customers you’d attract.

That approach actually results in the opposite effect.

If you spread your marketing resources too thin, you won’t create the necessary impact to influence behavior.

Several studies cite “the rule of seven” which references that it takes an average of seven exposures to a marketing message before consumers recall the brand or respond to the offer.

Based on your budget, you may want to target a smaller footprint or a single more responsive niche segment.

Going through the process of developing your customer persona profile will help you determine where to aim your marketing resources…toward the most responsive and profitable segment of your overall market.

Doing this right will lower your cost of acquisition, which, will increase your margin.

A customer persona is a profile of your ideal customer.

It identifies the person with the greatest need for your product or solution…one who will remain loyal and refer others to your business. The key elements of your customer persona are (but not limited to) as follows:

Demographic Attributes: Include gender, age, relationship status, residence, income, education, employment. If selling to businesses, entail industry, size (revenue and employees), location and decision makers.

Pain Points: Your customers’ fears, frustrations, challenges…essentially the problems they want solved. Pain points establish their priorities.

Personality Characteristics: Define their nature and temperament, e.g. pragmatic verses spontaneous, people or task oriented, logical or emotional, charismatic or quiet.

Values and Goals: What is important to them, what they care about, what they aspire to accomplish, and what motivates their behavior and choices.

Research Habits: The process they go through to find a solution to their problem, and how they research to find a provider to meet their wants and needs.

If you do an online search for “customer persona” you’ll find free templates that can help guide you through the process of developing your profile. Assuming you are solving a real problem or filling an important need, the fact is, the more accurate your targeting, the more profitable your business.

Customer persona profiles are not only used to “target the right market,” they are a great tool to refine and personalize your marketing “with the right message.”

Be sure to look for my December column when I’ll write about how to craft the right message.

Andrew Ballard is president of Marketing Solutions, an agency specializing in growth strategies. For more information, call 425-337-1100 or go to www.mktg-solutions.com.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

FILE - A sign at a Starbucks location in Havertown, Pa., is seen April 26, 2022. Starbucks says it will pay travel expenses for U.S. employees to access abortion or gender-confirmation procedures if those services aren't available within 100 miles of a worker’s home. The Seattle coffee chain says, Monday, May 16, 2022, the benefit will also be available to dependents of employees enrolled in its health care coverage. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, file)
Starbucks will cover travel for workers seeking abortions

Amazon and Tesla also will provide the benefit. Walmart and Facebook have stayed silent.

A barista pours steamed milk into a red paper cup while making an espresso drink at a Starbucks coffee shop in the Pike Place Market, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, in Seattle. It's as red as Santa's suit, a poinsettia blossom or a loud Christmas sweater. Yet Starbucks' minimalist new holiday coffee cup has set off complaints that the chain is making war on Christmas. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Interfaith group asks Starbucks to drop vegan milk surcharge

They say the practice amounts to a tax on people who have embraced plant-based lifestyles.

FILE - In this Monday, March 1, 2021 file photo, The first Alaska Airlines passenger flight on a Boeing 737-9 Max airplane takes off on a flight to San Diego from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. A Boeing pilot involved in testing the 737 Max jetliner was indicted Thursday, Oct. 14,2021 by a federal grand jury on charges of deceiving safety regulators who were evaluating the plane, which was later involved in two deadly crashes. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Alaska Airlines to keep canceling flights at high level for weeks

Flight cancellations since April will continue. The chaos has been damaging for Seattle’s hometown airline.

FILE - An airplane flies past the Boeing logo on the company's headquarters in Chicago, on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2001. Boeing Co., a leading defense contractor and one of the world's two dominant manufacturers of airline planes, is expected to move its headquarters from Chicago to the Washington, D.C., area, according to two people familiar with the matter. The decision could be announced as soon as later Thursday, May 5, 2022, according to one of the people. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Boeing expected to move headquarters from Chicago to DC area

The move would put Boeing executives close to their key customer, the Pentagon, and the FAA.

This 3D rendering shows Sila's 6000-foot facility in Moses Lake, to be used to manufacture lithium-ion anode battery materials. (Business Wire)
New factory in Moses Lake will bring hundreds of new jobs

The plant will manufacture lithium-ion anode battery materials for cars and cellphones.

Dr. David Kirtley at the new Helion headquarters, Antares, in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022  (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Helion Energy: New Everett company has the sun in its eyes

The firm is the winner of a new award by Economic Alliance Snohomish County, called Opportunity Lives Here.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring is this year's winner of the Henry M. Jackson Award given by Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Photographed in Marysville, Washington on April 25, 2022. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Jon Nehring: Longtime Marysville mayor who’s nurtured growth

He’s helped steer the city’s transformation and is winner of the Jackson Award by Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

Monti Ackerman, recipient of the John Fluke Award, is pictured Thursday, April 28, 2022, outside his office in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Monti Ackerman: A passionate volunteer and calculator whiz

The Fortive executive is the winner of this year’s Fluke Award by Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

Rep. Mike Sells, D-38, is the recipient of this year's Henry M. Jackson award. The award recognizes a visionary leader who through partnership, tenacity and a strong commitment to community has created lasting opportunities to improve quality of life and positively impact the regional economy. Photographed in Everett, Washington on April 29, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Rep. Mike Sells: He fought for WSU Everett and worker rights

The retiring legislator is the recipient of the Floyd Award from Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

People sit outside the recently opened Amazon Go facility Wednesday, April 27, 2022, in Mill Creek, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Cashier-less Amazon Go buzzing in Mill Creek grand opening

Locals came to check out the high-tech store, with $3 avocado toast and cameras watching customers’ every move.

Joel Bervell (Courtesy photo)
TikTok med student @joelbervell named top Emerging Leader

Joel Bervell, who highlights disparities in medicine, took top honors at an event for 12 rising stars in Snohomish County.

The Everett City Council approved a contract for Bird electric scooters to be set up throughout the city as soon as May. (Bird) 20220428
Electric scooters set to return to Everett as soon as May

The Everett City Council approved a 12-month contract with Bird, a California company, to deploy 75 to 300 e-scooters.