Understanding your audience is something every communications team strives to do. The way in which you communicate with an undergraduate college student is likely different than a freelancer with ten years experience, and different again from an executive with thirty years experience.
Creating Personas is a traditional marketing and product-development technique to uncover the attributes associated with key stakeholders of your message. These attributes include "head data" usually found in a database and "heart data" that goes more to their aspirational goals. For example, one Persona may strongly relate to "being able to leave the office by 5:00 pm every day" -- that's what's important to them -- whereas another cohort may yearn for challenging educational opportunities to help propel their professional development. Both are valid, both are different.
How detailed you get when creating Personas is up to you and your need. A Persona essentially becomes an avatar that represents a group of your audience. We define Personas using various types of Target Groups along with an accompanying narrative.
NOTE: This article explains the basics of how to create a Persona. If you need further assistance fleshing out the Personas appropriate for your organization, create a case.
Also note that some integrations will automatically create member types as Personas in the system.
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Create a Persona
- Navigate to Marketing Automation > Personas.
- Click Create.
- Give the Persona a name.
- Select an avatar image to represent the Persona.
- Select the Target Group you want to represent the Persona (Target Groups represent the "head data" referenced earlier).
- Provide a description, being sure to include some of the conceptual details of the Persona.
- Click Update.
As new subscribers appear, they're automatically added to the appropriate Persona. If a subscriber meets the criteria for more than one Persona, they'll be assigned to the first persona in the hierarchy, working from top to bottom. You can change the order (priority) of your Personas by clicking on their green tabs and dragging the persona to a different position in the hierarchy.
Once a Persona has been created, it can be used in a multitude of ways. You could simply use it as the Target Group for certain mailings; this enables you to use story-level targeting to really customize the content and the tone of that content for each specific demographic of the audience. Or you can use it to get an accurate idea of how each demographic of your audience is interacting with your mailings.
Personas best practice
While building Personas takes a little time and thought initially, they help you profile your subscribers, and target them more specifically.
From time to time, revisit your Personas to ensure they still accurately represent your subscriber base.
Revisit & reconsider scoring metrics
The types of subscribers that you attract and the traits that they share may change over time. Revisit the Persona profile that you created for them to make sure that you are still properly summarizing this group. If there have been industry changes that affect how you profile your subscribers, make sure to update the Persona info. Also make sure that you are still using the most appropriate Target Groups for your Personas. Switching integrated databases, incorporating web tracking, or finding access to any new forms of data may have given you a way to create a Target Group that better represents the users that should be in a Persona.