Today’s savvy customers demand an individualized, intuitive experience that meets essential needs and nourishes aspirations. Customer Personas ─ data-driven, artistically-rendered representative customer profiles ─ provide an easy-to-understand, insightful framework that allows organizations to focus on what matters most to unique customer groups, speeding up effective decision-making and maximizing return on limited marketing dollars.
Whether you market to business executives or to consumers, for a complex, considered sale or for an emotionally-driven, fast-moving consumer good, personas cut through data overload and allow you and your team to focus on what matters most ─ how to connect, communicate and optimize the experience for each group of target customers. Even better, personas help to guide strategic decisions with financial metrics like spend or customer lifetime value.
Marketers need a data-driven but holistic approach like customer personas to refine strategy, direct marketing execution and educate other stakeholders ─ such as sales and executive teams ─ about customers.
Personas answer critical business questions
- Who are our customers and prospects?
- Why do customers use our product/service?
- What criteria do customers most value in our product/service?
- What emotions does our product/service trigger?
- What catalyst began the customer journey that leads customers to us?
- What goals are customers trying to achieve with our product/service?
- What are the pain points or obstacles in using our product/service?
- How do different customer groups compare in terms of average RFM metrics?
- What wallet share have we captured?
- Who are our competitors? How do we compare?
- What is each customer group’s spend or revenue potential?
- What message points most resonate with each group? Which increase purchase likelihood?
Customers are unique.
The personas advantage: translating mountains of data into an intuitive, easy-to-use and actionable framework. When organizations create a set of target customer personas, they expand their understanding of customers and prospects to:
- Build comprehensive profiles of goals, motivators, and purchase drivers
- Quantify the relative importance of different elements in the customer experience
- Measure interest in trends or new product/service features Jenn, possible, or a separate study?
- Develop relevant, credible and compelling individualized persona messages
- Prioritize marketing and business priorities based on expected financial returns by persona group
Marketers often struggle to figure out what to do with customer and market insights. This takes up time and resources. Bridging the gap between research and action causes frustration.
A Solution: Customer Personas
Hansa customer persona capabilities integrate science-based research to support marketing strategy refinement, marketing communications execution and stakeholder education. Our approach developing data-driven personas has enabled our clients to:
- Map customer groups and optimize individualized engagement strategies.
- Enhance communications and offerings for unique groups of consumers.
- Refine B2B and BTC product offerings and target communications.
- Better communicate with multiple buying ecosystem audiences including business, technical and procurement professionals involved in high-dollar decision processes.
- Clarify and connect with customers’ emotional fears and aspirations throughout complex, multi-step product and service experiences.
- Prioritize next-generation technology and service features based on those required by high value/high revenue customer personas.
- Educate customer-facing groups including sales and customer service teams about customers and how best to serve them, including probability-based guidance for qualifying sales questions and workshops to educate new hires about the ins and outs of their market.
The following are sample results from clients where we researched a target market, built data-driven persona profiles and then partnered to develop persona-specific engagement strategies.
Case Study 1: Consumer Retail Engagement and Growth
- A leading U.S.-based retailer wanted to increase revenue per customer.
- Hansa insights research identified six actionable customer groups in the target consumer market.
- Hansa coupled persona development research with product needs and messaging communication preference testing.
- Marketing executives were able to increase their focus on high-value segments by refining add-on offers and outbound communications utilizing prioritized engagement maps for each persona.
Case Study 2: B2B Capital Sales Engagement and Growth
- A Fortune 500 client was struggling to offer potential customers a compelling choice from a broad capital equipment and service line.
- Hansa insights research identified four viable customer groups in this global B2B market.
- Hansa used advanced statistical analysis to isolate a few questions that enabled sales executives to quickly identify persona group membership and begin to focus on key issues and needs in customer meetings.
- Account reps were provided with supporting roadmaps of compelling product features and relevant and credible messages/proof points for each persona, enabling them to maximize every customer conversation and increase the likelihood of formal consideration and sales.
Questions to ask
- Do you have actionable insights on your customers and your market, or do you just have data?
- Can you easily summarize who your prospects and customers are and what they need and want from your product or service?
- Do you waste time and energy trying to prioritize marketing activities, but lack any sense of expected return by customer type?
- Do you have optimized product development plans by customer type, or are you still one-size-fits-all?
- Do you have individualized marketing communications pillars and tactics; or, do you have to figure them out yourself each time you develop a messaging plan?
- Does your research cross the bridge from insights to marketing execution?
Jenn Falco, SVP Client Services at Hansa GCR. Hansa Marketing Services is a leading U.S. marketing services provider with global renown. Hansa Marketing Services’ professionals are seasoned experts in developing and executing marketing programs for clients from startups to the Fortune 500. The company works seamlessly with its sister company, Hansa GCR, a leader in advancing state-of-the-art in research around brand and the customer experience.