Women, 25-54, HHI $75k+
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How can we craft a truly effective messaging strategy, ultimately creating the framework of an entire ad campaign if we know little to nothing about who our audience really is? My colleagues and I recently ran a workshop at the Digital Marketing Conference, here in Portland, that addressed this very issue. Anyone working in marketing and media has been there and is very familiar with the basic, watered-down information we use to truly “define” our target. Gender, Age, Household Income, Location, Ethnicity. But what do we get with a watered-down approach class? That’s right. A watered-down result.
Basic demographics no longer cut it. With the sea of data, information and targeting resources available, we can no longer look at a generalized group, classified by what sex they are and where they live and claim “yes, this truly represents my entire audience”. Innovation is driving new technology. New technology is driving lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes are affecting our media consumption. In the end, what is true of a person one week may have completely changed the next. Rinse. Repeat.
During our workshop, we discussed how to build a truly one-to-one messaging strategy through the creation of personas. While this is not a new marketing discovery, its importance is growing as fast as our media landscape is fragmenting. A persona, in this case, is a unique, detailed description of an individual member of our target audience. Beyond their gender or age, a persona describes behaviors and attitudes that this person exhibits. Rather than their age, we explore their stage in life. Beyond where they live, we might define who they live with. In the end, you have a description, or more-so a bio on a real person within your target audience.
How do we get this information? We do our homework. We survey. We interview. We interview some more. We collect available data. The more information we gather, the more patterns we’re able to identify and the more personas we’re able to build that exist in our target. Additionally, we use our intuition and that of those closest to our end users/purchasers to fill in the information gaps.
I’m not going to pretend this is an easy task, nor something that can be done overnight. It requires time, resources and creativity, all of which can be at a premium. The good news is, there’s never a bad time to start understanding your audience. Ready? Go.