When developing your brand, website or any sort of marketing for your company it’s important to first take the time to identify your target audience. Having a general idea of who you are selling to, creating content for, or trying to reach online can help you identify the proper tone of voice, channels, and even color scheme to use. To clarify things even further, it can help to not only identify your target audience, but also develop a target persona to keep in mind as you bring your marketing to life. First, let’s take the time to understand the difference between the two:
1.) Target Audience: A target audience is a demographic of people most likely to show interest in or buy your product or service. Target audiences are typically defined based on market research and cover very general characteristics such as age, gender, ethnicity, education, salary range, profession and family status.
2.) Target Persona: A target persona is a semi-fictional representation of an individual in your target audience. A target persona is based market research and demographics typically gathered when determining your target audience. Imagine plucking one individual out of your target audience and looking at that individual’s specific lifestyle, behavior patterns, and motivations.
Why Develop a Target Persona?
While understanding your general target audience for your product or service is important, sometimes it’s difficult write copy, create effective design, or even dream up creative marketing tactics for a set of statistics. Developing a target persona takes these numbers and essentially humanizes them. It breathes real life into your target audience and forces you to think more deeply about them as people with wants and needs instead of simply a collection of data points. It allows you to picture a face when producing your marketing, producing greater clarity and making it a little less overwhelming.
What’s included in a Target Persona?
Typically, a target persona will include very specific information about an individual. Working from the information you know about your target audience, you can determine a persona that is most representative. The characteristics you choose to include will likely depend on the information most important to selling your product or service. For example, if you are selling home improvement services, you will likely want to outline how long your persona has owned their home. Most target personas include:
↳ Fictional Name – Giving your persona a name helps to humanize your target audience and think about something, or someone, specific when developing your marketing.
↳ Gender/Age/Education – This should represent your target demographic which you will know through the market research you’ve gathered.
↳ Location – Does your target persona live in an urban or rural area? Do they own a house or are they renting an apartment? Do they live in a specific geographic area like the mountains or beach? Do they travel a lot for work?
↳ Job Title/Company Type/Salary – Identifying an example target company, industry and specific job title will better help you think about who you are talking to and more easily identify their wants, needs and motivations.
↳ Backstory – This is where you humanize your target persona. This will likely vary depending on what characteristics are most important to selling your product or service.
- Goals & Motivations – What are your persona’s career aspirations? Where were they were 5 years ago, where are they are now, and where do they see themselves in the future? What motivates their spending – perhaps their children? Their tight budget due to college loans?
- Pain Points – What causes day-to-day stress in the life of your target persona? What pain point is acute enough that they will spend money or time to alleviate it?
- Information Consumption – Where does your target persona spend time online? How do they consume news? Where do they engage socially online? What social media platforms do they use regularly?
Example Target Audience & Persona:
This is a Target Audience and Target Persona we put together for an online resource website offering educational tools, advice and articles about hardware manufacturing, product development and testing, and lifecycle management.
Individual Target Audience:
Young Engineers & Product Managers
Young engineers and product managers who are early in their career and perhaps engaging in product development, preparing engineering files, or working with foreign suppliers for the first time and are looking for resources, tools and industry-best practices to help guide them.
Business Target Audience:
Startups/Early Stage Hardware Product Teams
As a startup or early stage product team at a smaller company, time and money are not typically readily available resources. These types of companies are always looking for guidance on how to be leaner, more cost-effective and more efficient in their development and manufacturing processes to help minimize lost time and resources.
Age: 25 - 40
Education: Bachelors or higher
Location: Urban Area
Product Manager at a mid-size manufacturing company
Jimmy has a BS in Mechanical Engineering and worked as an engineer for 7 years after college. He recently got his MBA, and was promoted to Product Manager over a brand new product line the company is introducing. He and his team of young engineers are responsible for delivering a new product roadmap with respect to creation, time, budget, scope, risk and resources. He is also responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the new product architecture, system requirements, and execution of product validation plans with respect to mechanical, electrical, environmental and compliance requirements.
Bring this new product line to market in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible while building an operational team that displays a keen ability to follow industry-best practices that deliver proven results.
Pain Points/Needs Gap:
Easily accessible and digestible continuing education on industry-best practices, tools and templates that will help him be more successful in his job.