It’s no surprise that advertising has gotten more complex in recent years. With the emergence of unique digital opportunities, mobile, and a more competitive, complex marketplace, brands need to do a lot to avoid getting lost in the crowd. One of the simplest, most effective ways to make products and communications efforts stand out is by understanding the target audience. One way we examine and define the target audience at the Adcom Group is via persona development.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept, personas are a set of representative profiles for a target audience or customer base. The most effective personas are driven by research data and focus on how a particular audience profile interacts with a brand or industry. Personas include information that you would expect to find when defining a target audience, such as demographics and psychographics. The persona elaborates on the basic target audience parameters, making the story more personal and the persona more real. An image of the persona is also helpful, making it easier to visualize the consumer you are trying to reach.
Persona development should also include information regarding media usage. This tells the story of what media the target audience engages with, as well as some preferences and behaviors related to that media. It is helpful for media planners to have this information when they are planning a buy, as it can increase the effectiveness of the campaign.
The last, and perhaps most important, component of a persona is information related to consumer motivations and behaviors. These are typically specific to their shopping habits and their interaction with the industry or brand for which the persona is being developed. This information can be useful in nearly all areas of marketing communications, and it’s what sets a persona apart most from other forms of consumer research.
To create a persona is to create a concise yet detailed snapshot of the target audience. A persona can come from any blend of research techniques – primary or secondary, quantitative or qualitative. While all of the pieces that go into a persona seem straightforward, putting the information together in a way that is truly representative of the target audience can be tricky.