Rule number one of effective marketing is to understand your audience. In whatever industry you market, be it education, healthcare, or business that understanding must be sufficiently robust and sophisticated to guide successful marketing strategies which realize key business objectives. Data-driven marketing from the marketing research professionals at New Perspectives is an integral part of any successful busienss strategy.
Increasingly, marketers are diving deep into detailed information about their customers to create “buyer personas,” essentially characterizations of your ideal customers grounded in market research data, such as demographics, psychographics and behavior patterns. An expertly drawn buyer persona will enable more informed marketing decisions. An accurate buyer persona will indicate your target customers, direct a more nuanced construction of your marketing funnel, and the journey prospective customers take from initial awareness to active consideration to commitment.
Creating buyer personas can be an important aspect of data-driven marketing and decision making. And, like all good marketing strategies, successfully building and utilizing personas are a function of the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the data collected.
Here are five types of data you will need to construct effective buyer personas:
- Demographic data: you can collect key demographic data through market surveys, focus groups and one-on-one interviews with consumers. At minimum, you need to know the gender, location, race, marital status, income levels and age. You also need to uncover job status, including job title and years on the job. For example, if you are targeting healthcare, is your target audience nurses, doctors, physician assistants, or some other profession?
- Lifestyle data: here, you want to quantify key aspects of consumers’ personal lives. How do they spend their leisure time? Are they workaholics? What do they do for entertainment? Do they opt for generic or brand-name products? How important is making money vs. spending time with family and friends? Comprehensive and accurate data will help create a complete understanding of what factors drive behavior.
- Questions and concerns: your goal as a marketer is to answer your customers’ questions. To do so, you need to know what those problems are. For example, a medical practice might be concerned about cash flow and maximizing patient access. An educational institution might have concerns about increasing enrollment and maximizing net revenues.
- Objectives and goals: in addition to knowing consumer concerns, you need to understand what they hope to achieve. It is important for that understanding to be as detailed and accurate as possible. In order successfully to market your products and services, you will need to demonstrate how you can solve problems and take customers where they want to go.
- Information consumption: to better inform decisions about your marketing funnel and marketing channels, you need to know how your customers consume information. Do they follow social media? Do they subscribe to or access online newspapers? Do they access information via mobile devices?
Buyer personas can be useful weapons in your marketing arsenal, but, like all such tools, they are only as good as the market research which fuels them. That research, whether through surveys or focus groups, must be constructed thoughtfully, and, ideally, by professionals with deep and long-standing experience and expertise.
Contact the marketing research professionals at New Perspectives to learn more about how effective and accurate marketing research can help you achieve your business objectives.