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how to create effective marketing characters: a practical guide

Imagine that you are going fishing. You know for sure that you need a fishing rod, bait and a pond. Taking out a spinning rod and a can of worms from the garage, you go to the nearest lake and return to dinner with a small catch. Now imagine that you are gathered not just for fish, but for a specific type of fish - for example, for carp. In this case, you will have to study in advance where he lives, what he bites on and what type of fishing rod is best suited for this.

The same thing happens with the target audience. If you sell anti-wrinkle cream and all your marketing is based on the fact that the target audience of the product is women from 35 to 70 years old, then you are just going for the fish. Of course, there will be a catch, but what and who you will catch is unknown.

What is a character

In order to avoid blind fishing, marketing has invented a method of creating characters or avatars. A character is a collective image, a typical consumer of a product or service. He is not a real person, but at the same time he has quite living characteristics - habits, preferences, shortcomings and pain points.

Unlike cardboard and impersonal people from statistics, the character evokes emotions. We know his character, lifestyle and therefore we can predict how he will act in a given situation. This helps specialists in working on the site interface, creating content for social networks and creating an advertising message.

Let's take an example. The template phrase “men 30-45 years old, Moscow” does not carry any deep meaning. But as soon as it is supplemented with at least a couple of details, an image will begin to emerge. Compare the original version with this one: “a businessman from Moscow, 30-45 years old, married, enjoys surfing, has no bad habits, prefers casual style in clothes, loves Italian cuisine.”

Collecting data

Characters are conceptually simple, but creating them takes time and effort. It is not enough to whip up a couple of types in haste, based on your own ideas about the target audience, attach a finished photo from the Internet and add a short description. Such characters will not be useful.

In order for personas to become effective marketing tools, it will be necessary not only to conduct many interviews, but also to identify patterns in user behavior. Use all possible ways to get the information you need - below there is a list of the most popular data sources:

– interviews with the company's clients;

– interviews with company representatives: company executives, sales and customer service departments, as well as marketers. These people most often interact with real customers of the company and can share information about them;

- interviews with contractors, journalists, independent consultants and competitors (remember, you probably have such acquaintances);

– market research data: focus groups, customer surveys;

– competitive analysis — competitor sites where you can read reviews about the site and products, forums, groups in social networks;

- Literature - articles on topics.

Creating a character

After we have finished collecting data and analyzing it, it is important to decide on the number of future characters. To do this, it is necessary to group consumers according to similar lifestyles and matching patterns of behavior.

Usually in the course of work it turns out that there are several characters to describe the target audience. We look at whether two characters can be combined into one, and if this does not work, then we try to describe the rest. However, you should not get carried away either - with rare exceptions, there should not be more than three or four characters.

After we have formed the "skeleton" of the character based on the basic demographic characteristics, we begin the process of its phased "revival".

Coming up with a name

By giving a character a name, you help bring it to life for yourself and others in your organization. In the West, there is a tradition of giving names in the spirit of "Perfectionist Harry" or "Stylish Jane" - the name itself is random, but the characteristic is a concentrate of essence. The name is important for convenience, especially if you have multiple characters. And it’s easier to make decisions when you can ask yourself: “How will our spender Misha react to this advertisement?”.

Collecting an exhaustive dossier

Having carefully studied the informational background and the environment in which the prototypes of the character live, we are trying to recreate an exhaustive biography. Imagine that you are writing a dossier on a suspect's object as a private detective: where does our character most often rest on a Friday evening? What do you like for lunch? How does he prefer to get to work and what social networks does he use?

It is important not to focus solely on interests or professional characteristics - we try to cover as many facets of the personality as possible: the manner of speech, everyday habits and the buying mentality. We add key identifiers to the general portrait: by them, the seller or manager can easily identify the character and choose the right tactics for communicating with the client.

Good marketers watch TV, sometimes go scouting places they don't belong to, and communicate in places where they never even thought of before. You may be a homebody cat breeder, but if you're selling to a millennial party animal, you need to understand how they communicate, what they're interested in, what problems they have, and how they solve them.

Giving inner peace

A good in-depth interview gives an understanding of the client's problems and pains. The right questions will allow you to play a little psychologist and dig deeper - to find out the values, fears and hidden motives of the audience's actions. Without this, the future character is still half a cardboard man without real feelings and emotions.

Here is a sample list of questions that will help you understand the inner world of the character and get to know him better:

- What keeps you awake at night?

What is your most annoying part of the day?

Is the easiest way to piss you off?

Who and where do you turn to for advice?

– How do you feel about the changes?

– What are you most proud of?

- How do you want to feel when buying our product or service?

Forming an advertising message

As soon as exhaustive portraits of all the characters have been drawn up, you can begin to form an advertising message. It should be a clear and concise message that describes our product and the emotional outcome for a particular client. It will serve as a filter for brand marketing and communications in accordance with this particular character.

Based on this message, you will concentrate advertising on the most effective communication channels and begin to speak the same language with your audience.

Recommendations

– analyze the characters at least once a year to keep them relevant. As your business grows and sales increase, you will learn more about your core customers.

- characters are dynamic. If the assortment or brand positioning has changed, it's time to reconsider them. If your prices have increased by more than 20-30% - the same. In each case, your clientele has now changed. These are not the same people as before.

- by analogy with keywords and negative keywords, there are characters, and there are negative characters. We advise you to make at least their sketches and also take them into account in your promotion strategy. When you clearly know what a non-customer looks like, you will save the company time and money.

Characters provide amazing insights and actually build the structure for the entire marketing strategy. With them, you can strategically serve each segment of your audience and better understand the customers you are trying to attract. Creating personas is well worth the time spent as it allows you to attract the most valuable visitors, leads and customers to your business.

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Statutory data protection officer

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Telephone: +66815434565
E-Mail: hello@icu.agency
Company registration number: 0845566007085

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Demographic data collection by Google Analytics

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Google Analytics Remarketing

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