There’s nothing new about the idea that we have to know our audience–our potential customers–in order to achieve success with our branding and marketing efforts.
Avatars: Beyond Demographics
However, the idea has evolved in recent years, and now we’re getting much more specific when envisioning our prospects. Current wisdom says we take it beyond simple demographics, envisioning customer avatars.
While old-school marketing was content to describe customers as Birkenstock-wearing or Volvo-driving or Duck-Dynasty-watching, today’s concept of the customer avatar or customer persona hones into much greater detail, envisioning a fictional person who represents a profile of your typical customer.
Detailed Questions, Detailed Answers
When building your avatar(s), ask plenty of questions beyond their relationship to your product or service. You want to know where they spend time online, what problems they need solved, what resources they trust. Where do they get their news? Where do they shop? What are their hobbies? What magazines do they read? What advertising do they respond to? What kind of car do they drive?
Thoughtfully evaluate your customer base on many spectrums: CNN, NPR or Fox? Manolo Blahniks or LL Bean? Whole Foods or Grocery Outlet? Sierra Club or NRA? Cash or Credit? Facebook or Instagram? Crossfit or Pilates? Green tea or espresso? Craigslist or EBay?
The Benefits of Avatars
- This may seem like an elaborate exercise, but it really pays off. How?
- You begin to view your prospects as real people, not faceless demographic compilations.
- You narrow down your target market, which allows you to target them much more effectively than trying to be all things to all people
- You narrow down their pain points, enabling you to address them much more specifically
- You have a consistent perspective from which to build your brand and make important decisions
- You’ll have the tools to identify when you’re at risk of jeopardizing one avatar in favor of another, and to make a conscious choice in the matter
How Do You Craft Your Avatars?
Glean any information you can about your existing audience. Consider setting up online surveys–you can offer something valuable in return, such as access to special content or a discount. Interview a select group of customers, offering an incentive to them as well. You can mine your CRM for data on your existing customers and prospects.
Casually talk to customers whenever possible. Ask your sales people for their impressions on the matter.
Imagine, for example, a survey cars in two distinct drive-throughs, Starbucks and Taco Bell. You could ask what kinds of cars, how well they’re maintained, and the number of people in them. Don’t you expect there would be a difference? Wouldn’t that generate useful information for building avatars?
Ask Your Avatars
Once you’ve crafted a few vivid, three-dimensional avatars, test your marketing and product ideas against everything you know about them. Taglines, color schemes, advertising channels–they can all be evaluated in the context of your customer personas.
Avatars Help Laser-Focus Marketing Efforts
Once you confine your marketing efforts to a highly defined, but more limited market, you’re able to engage those individuals on a much deeper level, and make better decisions with them in mind.
If you could use some help creating your customer avatars, or with other areas of your marketing strategy, contact us today!