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Marketing mistake 4: Not having a customer persona for your business

Hi. I'm back with another edition of this blog, where talking about the marketing mistakes I made as an entrepreneur. Do you know what a buyer or customer persona is? You've almost likely come across these terms if you've ever looked into how to sell to someone.

A buyer persona is the profile of a customer who fits your target customer profile. We normally have a pretty broad sense of who our customers will be when we start a business and try to figure out who they will be. You could describe your customer as someone of a specified gender, who lives in a specific city, and is of a certain age. When it comes to marketing to customers, you need to break them down into much smaller groups.

Why do you need a customer persona?

Let’s understand it with an example of my first venture, Neev Magazine. Our customer was any Indian parent between the ages of 30 and 45. We recognised that a parent who lives in India would be sold to differently than a parent who lives elsewhere in the world. However, when we began marketing to parents, we discovered a new problem.

Our publication was an online publication. This was in 2015, when children's online presence was not as strong as it is now, following the pandemic. As a result, we discovered that there was a group of parents who did not want their children even near a computer. On the other hand, parents of children who were already using a lot of devices were much more technology savvy. They were asking about security and privacy. And they wanted features that their children were already familiar with, which they could get in various apps or on other websites. So, having the same approach for both of them was not going to work. We couldn't simply tell them, "This is what we have to give," and leave it at that.

To make matters more challenging, we had to modify our methodology for each of these customers. Even within these groups of parents, there were parents who were avid readers. They had grown up reading books and enjoyed reading, so, encouraging their children to read came naturally to them. They already knew that reading was important for a child's growth, so telling them about a magazine and discussing the benefits of reading wasn't necessary. However, talking to parents who did not read and placed a greater emphasis on activities was tough, because we had to consider not only whether they were digitally native or averse, but we also had to talk to them and explain the benefits of reading, which was not our core marketing pitch.

That’s when we realised that we weren't discussing the product; we were truly discussing the product's benefits. So, when you're looking at your business and beginning to develop a marketing strategy for it, make a list of the various types of customers you can encounter. You'll notice that it's not only their age, region, or gender that matters. You can segment them on a variety of factors, not only these. You must begin generating these segments based on their areas of interest. How do they make their purchasing decisions, which platforms do they use the most and what price range do they prefer? And once you've done that, you'll be able to link each customer category to a product or service you provide.

Understanding how customer persona affects your marketing pitch

You may have a marketing pitch where you discuss the benefits, the value system, price, and a variety of other topics connected to your product or service. However, once you've established your consumer segments, you'll be able to attach each of them to a fraction of your marketing pitch, rather than the complete pitch. The advantage of having a client persona is that you will have a pitch that is very targeted to the requirements and issues of a specific segment. As a result, when you're talking to them about what you're offering, you'll be able to pinpoint exactly what's upsetting them and help them solve their problem. As a result, the odds of conversion will be substantially higher.

So, why did I label this as a mistake? Because customer persona requires a great deal of effort. It not only requires that you understand your customer, but it also requires that you begin to consider what you are supplying from the viewpoint of someone else.

It may not come easy to you to look at your business through the eyes of others, but one of the few methods to do so is to speak with a variety of people. Start by talking to your closest friends and family members and asking them questions about their opinions on your company. And if you talk to enough people, you'll see that patterns emerge. And those patterns could be tied to what that person is interested in, their stage of life, and a variety of other factors that may surprise you.

Another example I can provide is that of a spice business. When I asked an entrepreneur friend of mine who sells spices who her target market was, she said that anyone who was health conscious would buy spices from her because the quality of her spices was really high. As we talked more about how her audience could be broken down, we found there were more segments to it. Someone who was health-conscious but didn't want to spend money on expensive spices would be a different group, and you'd want to sell to them differently. Whereas someone who was health-conscious but didn't care about cooking and didn't understand the value of good ingredients, would need to be sold to differently.

How often to create a customer persona for your business?

Creating customer personas for your company is incredibly valuable and should be done on a regular basis. When you try this for the first time and end up with five or six customer personas for your company.

However, as your company grows, you may face a variety of people who want to do business with you. You can even come across an unexpected situation that you hadn't anticipated, like I did.

We were completely focused on marketing our magazine to individual parents during my time at Neev Magazine. However, after an encounter with a former teacher, we recognised that our publication could be utilised as a learning tool for younger kids. Teachers were using storytelling as part of the curriculum to help younger children learn languages and values. So we held a workshop for them to use our product. That was something we hadn't considered. However, once it was recognised, we were able to repeat and grow it with other teachers.

If you already have a consumer persona defined for your brand, please let me know. You can contact me through the many methods listed in my profile. I will see you next time with a different marketing experience.


If you liked this post and would like more tips on other tools, then read more articles like this here or you can listen to the podcast.

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