Gaining value from understanding your customers

Customer research is not something new. It’s what businesses do from day one, asking what customers want, and how a certain service or product will meet that want.

But these days, this research is more important, particularly within the digital landscape. Customers are bombarded with status updates, pictures, video and advertising messages every hour of the day. It’s a crowded landscape, and one where you need to ensure active engagement with your current and potential consumers.

How do you do this? Use persona research to get to know the types of people you engage with online.

Let’s start with the end result. A persona. They look something like the picture above [image Courtesy of cxpartners.co.uk].

If you’ve ever created a market segment, you’ll be starting to think about the similarities. But, personas dive deeper and look at individuals within that segment. For example, Clark Andrews would be in a “single, tech geek millennial with disposable income living within a city environment” niche segment.

But on a deeper level, there could be several types of Clarks that make up this segment. One could be more outdoors focused and a “weekend warrior”, another could live a “champagne lifestyle on a beer budget”, whilst another could be an “intense budgeter” who doesn’t like spending disposable income.

We can use this information in several ways, including:

  1. Theme content around goals your personas want to meet i.e. “With a fitbit, you can easily track alcohol intake, with most people lowering their intake by 30% in the first week”

  2. Theme content around the frustrations i.e. “Don’t know what a fitbit can do? Hear from Dan, our Wearable Tech Expert from Nike” (with this one, we’re looking at both frustrations and brands the personas like)

  3. Use the brands personas love to do some cross promotion i.e. “Get a free pair of Nikes with a new fitbit”

  4. Target advertising towards the platform most used or channel most used i.e. Clark doesn’t use social media often, but loves phone apps, so they’d target advertising to within apps.

You can draw relevant conclusions to guide your marketing further. The benefits of this can include:

  1. A greater return on investment for marketing efforts through more targeted advertising methods;

  2. Better ability to plan content that gets engagement and drives purchase decisions;

  3. An asset that can be used across the organisation more than once, especially with strategic planning;

  4. Greater understanding of customers to drive product development and service development.

Having customer personae is a major benefit to your organisation.

How do we do it? By gathering certain information and talking to customers – whether by survey or face to face – to gain as much relevant information as possible.

The type of information you can gather is pretty broad. But generally we’d advise you find out:

  1. Who do they follow on social media? We’re talking influencers who are quite active i.e. they post daily. So you can easily adapt content ideas for your own brand.

  2. Demographic details. We’re talking job titles, age, gender (more commonly not applicable), family structure (if B2C), income bracket etc.

  3. Geographic details. Not their address, but general area of residence and work.

  4. Goals. We want to know what they want to achieve that is related to your product or service. If your product is about fitness, asking them about purchasing a new car is irrelevant.

  5. Frustrations. What are they sick of that either your service or product can solve or you can help solve through content marketing, partnership marketing etc. These are still related to your product or service.

In terms of questions you could ask, we’d recommend reading this article from HubSpot that provides 20 questions on what to ask for creating a buyer persona. You can add your own questions in too – it’s about what information you need to drive your business activities forward.

If you want to have a conversation about personae, contact WaltersPR. We’re happy to work with you to create them, help you to conduct research, or just act as a sounding board.

WaltersPR (James Kelly)