Current estimates say that the average U.S. consumer is exposed to over 5,000 ads per day1, and this number is expected to rise. As consumers are inundated with brand messages, they tend to tune out overly generic ads or ones that don’t address their current needs. The companies behind many of these ads have chosen a blanket approach, where they are using the same product messaging across platforms and across target markets. One proven way to engage new customers and retain existing customers is to use messaging that speaks directly to the target consumer. By developing target personas you can tailor your messaging and receive much higher engagement on your content.

Who are your customers?

Chances are you have already established your target market or target markets. You’ve identified whether you are selling directly to your customer or through B2B channels. And, you probably know the general demographic information of your target customer including their age, sex, and income level.

This general information is a great way to understand factors like market penetration or general buying trends but fails to pinpoint the exact type of messaging that should be used to engage your customer. In order to more specifically understand the needs and desires of your customers, you need to create target personas.

Personas are based on a representation of a customer segment. To develop a persona, create a list of specific identifying information for an individual, such as their age, sex, race, education level, and socioeconomic level. Then try to get into that customer’s shoes by asking questions like: What goals is my customer trying to achieve? What challenges is my customer currently facing? What communication preferences does my customer have? And, how can my company help this customer?

In order to get the most accurate picture of your customers, it helps to ask internal stakeholders, refer to industry reports, or to interview your current customer base. Once you have identified the key traits and motivations of your target persona, repeat the process to identify 1 or 2 secondary personas. Then build a user profile for each persona that lists their unique demographic information, a list of challenges they are currently facing, and potential motivations for why they would need your products. Give your personas a name and even a picture. As you sit down to develop your messaging, print the personas out and have them in front of you as a constant reminder of who you are speaking to.

How should you tailor your messaging?

When crafting your messaging, first uncover what platforms your personas get their information from. Social media and digital marketing may be obvious choices, but also consider what print and broadcast media your customers regularly use. When messaging to B2B personas, you may identify trade publications, networking events, and conferences that your personas frequent.

Then, position your messaging by using the language that your customer would use on that platform. For example, social media platforms tend to have a less formal tone than a trade publication would. You may also consider incorporating humor into your messaging in order to catch your reader’s attention. Also, the use of customer testimonials and case studies may also help sell your products because it shows people like your target customer using your product or service.

No matter what platforms you are message your products on, the best way to position your products is by promoting scarcity. Letting your customers know that your promotions won’t last forever or that you may run out of products builds a fear of missing out on the offer. That scarcity can motivate customers to act now as opposed to waiting until later.

The adage, “you cannot be all things to all people” applies to many areas of life, but especially to your product messaging. Instead of blanketing your target market with overly-generic advertisements, identify who your target customers are by creating target personas. Then speak directly to those customers by addressing their current needs and motivations. Once you have developed your initial personas, revisit them regularly to account for changing taste preferences or to reposition your messaging based on your competitors.


About Weber Associates

Weber Associates is a Columbus, OH-based consulting firm. Since 1985, we have blended the creativity of a marketing agency with the analytical rigor of a consultancy to help our clients solve real sales and marketing challenges so they can significantly grow revenues and customer loyalty.