How to Develop Your Ultimate Audience Persona

Molly Howe

The most consistently successful marketing content is fueled by audience personas. Think of some well-known brands, Apple, Nike, Ferrari, or even Lego. I am sure you can, without much effort, picture in your mind their ideal consumer. 

An audience persona makes up both the visualisation and profile of an imagined person who represents your ideal individual customer. Almost all marketing efforts should be catered for them to ensure your target audience is receptive to your campaign. 

So how do you create an audience persona for your business? It’s really simple! 

Let’s take a look…

What is an audience persona?

The main thing to remember when creating your audience persona is that they are either fictional or at the least, semi-fictional. They are based on research and data rather than an actual customer, this allows you to create the hypothetically perfect persona without being held back through logistics. 

We will explore how to develop an audience persona in greater detail later in this article, but for now, let’s introduce to you Sarah Jones (a persona we have made up) so that you can begin to formulate an understanding of what an audience persona can look like. 

Audience persona Sarah Jones
Audience persona Sarah Jones

The difference between target audience and audience persona

A target audience is a defined group of potential customers, picked from society who are most likely to consume your product or whom you would ideally like to consume your product. They are therefore predominantly who you should be gearing your marketing efforts towards.

Target audiences, like audience personas, are dictated by a combination of factors, notably demographics, psychographics, geographics, and behavioural tendencies, however they are much broader by nature, and rely less on the intricate specifics of personas. 

An audience persona is an imagined individual who would fit in your target group. Marketers create an audience persona to draw deeper connections between marketing communication efforts and the real potential consumers. 

Take a look at our article here to find out how to define your target audience for your business. 

Will creating an audience persona help my business?

Will building concrete foundations for your house prevent it from caving in on itself in the future? Probably! 

Audience personas provide a foundation for you to shape and build your marketing efforts upon. Without personas, you will struggle to effectively market your products through the best channels of communication to the people that are most likely to invest in your product or service. 

Additionally, they can shape:

  • Who you aim to market content at
  • What social media platforms you market using
  • How to angle your emails
  • When and where to reach your audience
  • What language to use when communicating with your audience
  • Where to monetise your content 
  • What products to put the most energy into advertising

Marketing plan

When should I use an audience persona?

They should act as a guide for your product development and marketing efforts. Try to relay everything back to them. When you create a new method of marketing or a new product, take into account if they would be receptive. 

Do all businesses benefit from developing audience personas?

Yes, definitely! 

Audience personas are beneficial to an enormous range of businesses from tech companies to medical charities. Pretty much any company that uses media marketing can draw benefits from them.

Beginning to shape your audience persona

Now you are aware of the innumerable benefits of audience personas, it’s time to start developing one. 

Customer segmentation is the process of dividing larger target audiences into smaller, more manageable groups to optimise marketing efforts. It should be used to lay the bare bones of your audience persona.

Customer segmentation 

Demographics 

  • Age
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Profession 
  • Place of work
  • Education 
  • Home town
  • No. of children
  • Housing situation 
  • Income
Older ladies
Older ladies

Psychographics

Although these sound a lot scarier than demographics, the concept of psychographics is very simple. 

It encapsulates the qualitative methodology of studying consumers based on psychological characteristics and traits. This includes their:

  • Goals
  • Values
  • Desires
  • Likes/ dislikes
  • Lifestyle choices 
  • Personality 
Goals in life
Goals in life

Behaviours   

Behaviour trends focus on labelling a subjects actions, this includes:

  • Usage of tech
  • Social media habits 
  • Lifestyle patterns 
  • Bedtimes/ Waketimes
  • Sleep habits
  • Hobbies 
Sporty person
Sporty person

Geographics

Geographics encapsulates where someone lives and works. 

The innovative nature of technology and delivery services as well as the cultural shift caused by COVID restrictions, including increased working from home, means that the importance of geographics in creating audience personas is dwindling. For now however, it is still worth including. 

Building on this…

Consider what type of person your persona will be using customer segmentation data. If you already have an existing customer base, decide if they are your ideal target audience, if they are then see if any would do a survey with you to find out more about them. 

Survey platforms include:

Instagram stories also provide a ‘poll’ feature, it is an effective way to assess your followers as it takes little effort on their part and can provide important data. 

Survey data
Survey data

Be specific but not too specific!

Remember to use your imagination! Developing your audience persona should be a creative task akin to writing a fiction novel. Research is essential but try not to become too bogged down in it. They are an imaginary person with thoughts, feelings, and dreams, not simply an amalgamation of data and statistics. 

To begin to formulate a truly rounded character, draw on the assessments of current customers (demographics, psychographics, behaviours, geographics) and build a new story for your persona. 

Start by giving your audience persona a name, this will bring them to life.  

Naming your persona 

Whilst it may not seem like an important part of creating a persona, the naming process is in fact a major component in the development of your character. It will be your point of reference for years to come and should spring to mind every time you develop a new product or experiment with a new marketing strategy.  

There are a few great tactics to employ when devising a name, let’s take a look.

Alliteration

Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words. It helps people to remember characters.

  • Tommy the Tech Lover
  • Sarah the Stresser
  • Darshan the Dreamer

Plosives

These are words that start with strong sounding consonants. They demand assertion which assists recall.

  • Peter
  • Kim
  • Ben
  • Daren

Feedback

Ask colleagues for authentic feedback regarding your name choice. Everyone in the organisation should see your audience persona as a point of reference so it is important that the majority like the name. 

Steer clear of well-known names, for instance, a prominent member of your company, a client, or a famous person – this can distract employees. 

Begin to shape their story

Use a whiteboard to create a spider diagram about your future audience persona, this will allow you to wipe out, develop and change the characteristics of your persona during the initial development phase. 

What are their pain points?

Pain points are the problems faced by prospective customers in your specific marketplace. 

These often fall under the categories of:

  • Finance
  • Productivity 
  • Efficiency 
  • Online experience 
  • Customer service 

Your business has likely already identified customer pain points in product development stages and has ideally provided an efficient solution for said points. Address that your persona possesses these pain points as a reminder that certain information will need to be presented through your marketing to prove that you can solve them.

Also, consider what may hold your persona back from investing in your product or service and make note of this. For instance, the price point being too high or subscription commitment being too daunting.     

What motivates them right now?

Are they career orientated or family-oriented? Of course, someone can be both, but it’s best to identify what they want to achieve now. For instance, our example persona, Sarah, is both career and family-orientated but presently wants to develop a healthier work/ life balance. Show how your product or service can help to achieve the aspirations of your persona. 

What types of marketing content do they consume?

Content comes in many forms:

  • Blogs
  • Infographics
  • Billboards 
  • TV adverts
  • Social media video
  • Textual advertising
  • User-generated content
  • eBooks
  • Videos  

One thing we do know for sure is that video is one of the most universally enjoyed forms of content. In fact, as of 2022, the average person is predicted to spend 100 minutes per day watching online videos. An astounding 86% of businesses now use video as a marketing tool for this very reason. 

It is highly likely that your audience persona would find it most efficient to watch marketing videos over any other form of content. To find out how the team at Kartoffel Films can help you get started on your video marketing journey click here

How do they consume it? 

People consume content in variable ways, often depending on their age. For instance, younger audiences tend to be drawn more towards social media whereas older consumers spend more time watching television. 

It is important to understand how your audience persona chooses to consume marketing content to ensure that your productions have the most effective reach.

To find out how your chosen persona would most likely consume content, ask questions like these:

  • Are they computer literate?
  • Do they own a smartphone?
  • Are they receptive to email marketing?
  • What forms of social media do they use?
  • Do they work in the corporate sector?
  • How long do they spend on their phone?

Have a look at these stats to help visualise their consumer habits:

  • Online video consumption has increased across all age groups in the last 5 years but the largest increase is seen in people over 46 years old.
  • More than 75% of all videos are played on mobile devices.
  • Video posts on social media get 48% more views.
  • Twitter tends to be used by households with higher annual incomes
  • Instagram is most popular amongst 18-29 year olds with 67% using compared to just 23& of 50- 64 year olds. 
  • Facebook is used by people across all annual incomes and by a range of ages
  • 61% of snapchat users are female
  • 65% of viewers say that YouTube is their favourite channel for consuming video content
  • Globally, mobile YouTube videos reach more 18-19-year-olds than any television network. 
  • Different countries have different levels of tech or online fluency for instance 95% of adults in South Korea own a smartphone.
Lady on phone
Lady on phone

When are they most receptive to marketing?

If they are a commuter, it may be effective to communicate with them in times of peak travel, this is when most check their emails. They are likely also most receptive to soundlessly optimised videos.

In the US, the most popular viewing time for online videos is Wednesday between 7 AM-11 AM PST, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as specific as this! 

Commuter
Commuter

How do they use language?

Different groups are receptive to language in different ways.

Let’s take a look at humour. Humour can be a masterful marketing tool – but it doesn’t always translate and it can, quite easily fall flat on its face, damaging your marketing campaign. 

Certain types of people are more receptive to humour than others, it is also apparent that different types of humour are funny to different people. 

Humour aimed at Gen Z tends to be:

  • Quirky 
  • Self deprecating 
  • Memeified 
  • Absurd 

This is unlikely to communicate well if marketing towards older consumers.

Gen z audience persona
Gen z audience persona

We made the brand video below for a men’s health campaign surrounding testosterone deficiency. An audience persona was constructed to reflect the fact that the advertisement should exclusively target middle-aged men. We were able to gain a solid grasp of the kind of marketing style that a middle-aged man would respond to as a result of this. The video definitely employs a style of humour, character, and environment that would appeal specifically to this demographic.

Additional personas? 

If your product or service is beneficial to several different target audiences, for instance straddling both the tech and health sectors it would be a great idea to create more than one persona. This ensures that all possible consumers are considered at every point along the product development and marketing journey. 

Anti- personas?

It may be worth considering developing an anti-persona. This is another imaginary character, but this time it’s someone who you want to avoid marketing your product at. 

If you are marketing expensive software, students and small businesses are unlikely to be one of your target market groups. It would be inefficient to market towards them, likely producing a negative ROI. 

Follow the same formula we discussed above, but instead of creating the perfect consumer, create one that you do not intend to market towards. This helps you to preserve your marketing efforts for people that are likely or have the ability to become customers.

Remember to allow your personas to grow 

Like your business, audience personas should be allowed to evolve. Don’t become too attached to a single persona, this could hold you back. If your business becomes more innovative, perhaps incorporating more intricate technology, it is ok to reshape your persona. If your target audience changes from students to professionals as the business grows, adjust your persona accordingly. This could include reshaping the age, profession, or income of your creation. 

growing persona
growing persona

To Recap…

The more deeply you know and understand your audience, the more effective your marketing strategy will be. 

Whether you are just embarking on your marketing journey or are looking to improve it, audience personas are the place to start. 

Why not also consider incorporating video in your marketing campaign. We can make video work for you, not the other way around. With over 2000 videos, both animated and live-action, we can sort all of the logistics associated with your video, meaning no hassle or stress on your part. Still interested? Give us a call to get our creative partnership started.