Full-service strategic marketing firm, and one of the top-five advertising agencies in Hawaii

Marketing Tools: Create a customer persona

A common marketing tool is a Customer Persona.  Basically, it’s a description of a semi-fictional character, which represents your customer.  By creating this character, you’re more easily able to imagine how that “person” would respond to different situations, such as seeing your advertising or using your product.

It’s normally created using actual customer data from primary or secondary market research.  However, as a small business owner, you may already have a good idea of the kinds of customers that come to your business.  It may not be an exact science, but it can provide you with a better understanding of your customers and how best to reach them

Here’s how you can create your own.

1) Start by asking some basic questions about your customers.  These don’t have to be exact.  You’re just trying to get a general sense of who they are.

  • Are they generally male or female?
  • What is their average age?
  • What’s their average household income?
  • What is the average size of their family?
  • What areas do they live?
  • Why need are they fulfilling by using your product or service?

You may find that you have multiple types of customers (i.e. target audiences).  If so ask the questions separately for each group.

2) Now, we can start on developing these personas or characters.  You’re going to take a creative leap and start to imagine each customer type as an individual person.  Based on the above descriptions for each customer type, ask yourself these further questions and begin to think of it for an individual.

  • Do they have kids?  How old are their kids?
  • What do they like to do for fun?
  • What kind of job do they have?
  • Where do they live?  Describe it.
  • What kinds of TV shows do they watch? Publications they read?  Things they listen to?  Websites they visit?  Social media they use?
  • What kinds of brands do they like?
  • What do they look for in your type of product or service?
  • What do they like about your product or service? What might they not like about it?

Feel free to keep describing them with more questions.

3) Once you’ve answered those questions, summarize everything by filling out the following.

  • Name: (give them an actual name)
  • Age:
  • Income:
  • Family Description:
  • Occupation:
  • Residence:
  • Media Consumption:
  • Brands that appeal to them:
  • Interests:
  • Reasons for purchasing (your product/service):
  • Picture (find a picture of someone that you could imagine would fit this person)

Now, when you’re faced with a marketing decision, look at your Customer Persona sheet and ask yourself, “how would that person respond to it?  Would they see or hear it?  Would they care?  Would it make them want to buy?”  This can greatly help you to get out of your predispositions and thinking more like your customer.

About the author: Brent is Director of Strategic Planning at Matsumoto & Clapperton, a strategic marketing firm and one of the top-five advertising agencies in Hawaii. He has been featured in Advertising Age and recognized both locally and nationally by the American Advertising Federation.