As a recent college graduate working at an agency that does a lot of higher education marketing, it’s a curious thing to see my peer group being analyzed and profiled for marketing purposes. It feels weird to think that somewhere out there, a room full of marketers is trying to Frankenstein what they deem to be the most accurate depiction of you.
The fact of the matter is, a perfectly crafted persona not only makes life easier for the marketer, but for the consumer as well. Like most, I have no desire to be bombarded by advertisements or email that have nothing to do with my interests.
One of the most important principles of inbound marketing is that content must be meaningful to the intended audience to be effective. The development of a well-crafted persona is vital to this process, ensuring that the consumer connects with the content best suited for them. Personas are also critical when designing the interface of a website. The “persona” includes a list of the main tasks that the user will likely want to accomplish and is matched with what the client wants to communicate. This acts as a guide for the information architects, designers and copywriters, making sure that the user’s needs are being met.
An example of this that I recently experienced firsthand was when I began looking at various options for my first credit card. I came across an offer in my email inbox that seemed to be tailored specifically to me as a recent grad. After exploring online, I was served with additional information that very same week via an offer in the mail. The website provided a simple application form and useful information for a first time customer. Across these points of contact, I felt as though the company understood my situation and what my needs were. They also understood the best way to reach me and how to push me towards a decision.
Marketers are often criticized for exploiting consumer data to sell more product. From my perspective, implementing personas in the strategic planning process is ultimately doing a beneficial service for the consumer. I enjoy having good, relevant content served to me.
So next time you stumble across a blog post or article that piques your interest, just know that it most likely isn’t a coincidence (or the Twilight Zone). It’s the art of the persona at work!