October 3, 2013 | Written by: Claire Marshall
Categorized: Customer Analytics | Marketing
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The majority of businesses regardless of industry will have more than one ‘typical’ customer. These different customers should be studied to create personas that your business can then use to ensure all communications, branding and digital real estate are designed to appeal and cater to the majority of your customer base.
It is impossible to please every customer, but what a business must do is identify those personas that are most important to the business and shape the business model to retain and acquire customers.
To create personas you need to look at buyer insights via analytics and sales reports to understand your customer base and use this to create several personas. Don’t go crazy; just create a handful at most that covers the majority of your customer base. You may find that only a couple of personas satisfy this. Look at personal information about your customer base e.g. single no kids, Parents, Retired. Also look at your product and service base and interaction levels with your business e.g. casual user, frequent buyer, gadget enthusiast. Create names for each of your personas based on their characteristics; these could be real names based on gender or tie into their behavior e.g. Steve, Mary, Power User.
When you understand your customer base in more detail you can then use this throughout the business to ensure that these personas are not overlooked. The business as a whole should be able to contribute to the persona creation and ongoing management of identifying the customer base in this way. Teams such as Customer Service and Marketing should be included and there should be a central point where persona behaviours can be logged and tracked; one such place is your CRM. In your CRM and analytics you can then review how customers assigned to a persona react and respond to communications and any changes in your products or services.
Test and review your communications to these personas. What is their preferred communication channel? E.g. direct mail, mobile text, email etc. Does this vary by message type? e.g. up-sell, loyalty incentive etc. Look at the response rates/sales and be conscious of your timings to avoid individual customers suffering communication fatigue. Dependent on your business model consider what is important to your personas e.g. life event such as marriage, parenthood; seasonal such as sport or calendar, and current trend that would appeal to certain personas. You should also use personas in any usability testing to ensure that you are not alienating the majority of your customer base through changes.
Through the use of personas you can ensure that your business puts your customers at the center of all you do and are less likely to lose sight of them as your business adapts and changes to the desires and demands of the ever-savvy customer.