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Anatomy of a Persona: The ‘Invisible’ Miracle Weapon in Your Marketing Arsenal

Anatomy of a Persona: The ‘Invisible’ Miracle Weapon in Your Marketing Arsenal

27.08.2013.

Forget demographics. If you want your marketing programs to deliver remarkable ROI, you’ve got to go deeper. The public will never actually see this part of your work, but when you take the time to understand personas and create useful persona documents, the results will be visible in the bottom line.

Whether you’re already using persona documents, or ready to rev your results by adding them, here is what you need to know to get the most out of them.

The Persona Concept

Every purchase–whether it’s a pack of gum or a B2B contract for facilities maintenance across 30 locations–has at least one human being on each end of the transaction. A living, breathing, thinking, feeling human being, and we human beings are emotional creatures–even when making business decisions.

A good persona document uncovers who that human being is, what he cares about, what drives him, and how best to engage with him to encourage desired outcomes.

In other words, the persona document tells us exactly what we need to do in order to stop writing content that sounds nice and start writing content that actually accomplishes our goals.

The Quick-Persona Process

1. Define the client’s top one, two, or three target personas. “Top” personas may be defined by profitability, desire to penetrate new markets, or some other factor such as social responsibility or a sense of fun. Look for the human being, not just a job description, and specifics, not averages.

2. Once again, the inside of the client’s brain is filled with information you need. Interview someone who is close to the strategic direction of the business and who also understands the customers. Focus first on fears, pains, and hopes (see below).

3. Step 2 is quite adequate as a starting point in many cases. When desired and convenient, you may wish to interview two or three existing clients who fit the profile to get their input.

4. Use the template below to create a great persona document.

The Anatomy of a Persona Document

We’ve been working with persona documents (not always under that name) for close to a decade. We created this handy guide, based on a persona developed for one of our clients, to give you a leg up and get you creating useful persona documents quickly. Click on the images to enlarge & read the notes, then print them out as a reference:

Anatomy of Persona Doc 1

Anatomy of a Persona Doc 2

Anatomy of a Persona Doc 3

Are you already using persona documents? What are you doing differently that’s working for you? What will you change after reading this?

Was this useful? Share it with your circles right now (below), and connect with us via social media (top right). We’ll share more great stuff every week.

If you’re looking for a valuable content partner, catch up with us and ask how we can help you create or enhance persona documents, and use them to deliver extraordinarily effective content. You’ll be delighted at just how profitable it can be.

Author:

Fen Druadìn Head (formerly Heather Head) is an author, as well as the founder of Scopcity. When she is not writing, running the business, or chasing down bad guys on Twitter, she enjoys hiking, snuggling with her husband and three boys, and avoiding the kitchen.

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