Personas are the anchor of many digital marketing agency strategies. Understanding your client’s audience is vital to building a successful digital marketing strategy that delivers results.
The Problem with Personas
Think about it: Personas are your client’s “perception,” their audience’s “perception,” which results in your own “perception,” which ultimately becomes the “persona(s).”
It doesn’t just sound confusing; it is confusing to mix and match so many perceptions of the same reality. But it doesn’t have to be.
Apple built their entire company based on what people don’t know they want!
Aha! Moment for Building Better Personas
Every other month, we hold communication training for our team because it’s an undeniable skill present in every aspect of agency life and our personal lives. At the end of every 2-hour session, we make it a point to apply our training to real scenarios.
After nearly 10 years of bi-monthly communication training, the “aha!” moment hit me. All the things we discussed in our training were never part of persona building. Let alone any persona our client provided us, or we saw from other competing agencies.
Using Communication Laws to Build Better in Personas
There are many studies, research, and formulas that make people better communicators.
Trust us. We’ve been through them all. But they all boiled down to these primary laws, which allow you to build personas that digital marketers actually get value from.
1. Representation Style
This is how people process the world and things around them. This gives you a medium on how to best communicate to this persona, which includes:
- Visual (see)
- Auditory (listen, read, write)
- Kinesthetic (touch, smell, taste)
All people have 6 attitudes that perceive value to them. Everyone holds all these attitudes, but your personas will have attitudes that carry more weight than others. Using this gives you the formula to create value props for each attitude:
- Theoretical (more facts and figures)
- Utilitarian (wants good investment)
- Aesthetic (needs to look good)
- Social (what will others think of me)
- Individualistic (how do I make product/service better)
- Traditional (needs to fit with personal values and global outlook)
3. Language & Behavior
Like the game of telephone, everyone deletes or distorts information based on their behaviors and language. These behavioral characteristics will help identify how your persona makes a decision:
- Motivation = Proactive vs. Reactive (avoid future trouble or is in trouble)
- Direction = Toward vs. Away From (solutions to get closer to a goal or reasons why goal can’t be achieved)
- Source = Internal vs. External (makes a decision on how they feel or make a decision based on validation from another)
- Reason = Options vs. Procedures (likes control in decision making or likes clear path to decision)
- Scope = Specific vs. Global (small details vs. lofty bigger picture)
4. Human Relations
Being able to understand people and their nature allows you to communicate with your persona skillfully, which includes:
- How to make people feel important
- How to set peoples’ moods
- How to influence people
- How to convince people
Here’s the Point …
It’s great to understand your audience’s demographics, interests, geographics, and psychographics. But it doesn’t do your digital marketing any good if you don’t know how to utilize that data to sell more products or deliver more services. Incorporating human nature laws and communication behaviors into your personas enables you to craft marketing messages that resonate with your entire audience and deliver results.