Achieving simplicity is really hard, we all know that in our guts.
There is however a huge difference between simple and superficial, and again, we all know that but tend to be persuaded to take the easy way out.
The development of a specific ‘Persona’ to which you target your marketing efforts is one of those seemingly simple things we can now do with digital help, but in fact it is really hard.
Therefore, many make a token effort, and go away satisfied, but have in fact settled for a superficial result.
And then they wonder why the subsequent marketing efforts fail to deliver on the hype.
It is impossible to target a generic message to a 35-year-old middle-class working mother of two, and have it received in the manner you would wish. It’s much easier to target a message to Jennifer, who has two children under four, works broken hours as a lawyer, and is always looking for quick but healthy dinners and ways to spend more time with her husband and kids, and less time on housework.
As a young marketing bloke we always developed a ‘target audience’ for everything we did.
In those days they were generally demographic categories, which were pretty broad. If we were lucky and had big budgets, we had a Usage & Attitude study that gave us some insights into consumers behaviour, but were pretty superficial. The research relied on peoples memory, and willingness to actually recognise and admit to the behaviours that drove marketing decisions.
It was relatively rough and ready stuff.
Then we used mass media to try and reach those demographic groups, hoping to find a few by chance who wanted to hear and act on what we were saying, or even were just prepared to listen.
Progressively we have been able to develop detailed pictures of customers and potential customers, those of our competitors, and those who might be interested in what we have to offer. We now can build a detailed understanding of their preferences and behaviour from a range of data sources, can direct messages very specifically at very small groups of individuals, and with many forms of media, specific individuals.
This power is unprecedented , and mostly it is ignored by small and medium sized businesses.
It enables the development of a four sided picture of those we want to reach.
Who they are
Where you can find them
What are their behaviours that are relevant to your value proposition
Why they should buy from you
The flip side of the persona, the challenge most marketers fail to understand sufficiency is that individuals now can avoid you should they choose. That array of digital targeting tools can be turned against the marketer, their messages in one way or another moved to the ‘Junk file’ never to be seen or acknowledged.
Why they should buy from you, what makes your persona something relevant to a potential buyer?
Because you can solve a problem, they like/trust you, and/or they engage and relate to you.
Successful selling is not about the transaction, it is the value you can deliver that is more than the cost of the transaction, and it is about the empathy you can deliver.
In order to create a story potential customers can relate to, you need to develop some sort of story for the character. Who they are, how they got here, what they have experienced, the obstacles overcome, their character flaws, all the things that make them human. You weave your own characters into the sales itch, and lead people to the conclusion you want them to reach, because you relate to them, they relate to you, your story is theirs.
This means you may need a few variations that accommodate differing ideal customer personas, but not too many or it becomes false and fabricated.
Let me know if I can help.