Why Customer Personas and Journey Maps are Critical in Marketing
by Jessica Miller, Marketing Manager
by Jessica Miller, Marketing Manager
Before you can craft your marketing message, try to understand your target audience so you know who you’re marketing to, how your message will be perceived and the path those customers will follow as they interact with your brand over time.
Standard demographics (i.e., women ages 25-40) are a great place to start, but those basic characteristics don’t provide enough insight into buyer behaviors.
Customer personas and journey maps give you the information you need to tailor your brand experience to your audience’s specific needs.
Customer personas are fictional profiles that represent groups of potential buyers who share similar behaviors, goals, needs, expectations and motivations.
Developing those personas helps you reach people on a more personal level with the right messages, offers and products at the right time.
It’s a smart idea to create multiple personas within a given audience segment so you can understand all the ways your marketing message might be perceived.
To develop personas for your audience segments, follow these steps:
1) Outline general demographics, like age, gender, ethnicity, occupation and family structure.
2) Ask A LOT of questions through interviews, surveys and focus groups.
3) Create clusters based on similar dominant traits.
Then, develop a fictional profile for each cluster based on real characteristics from your sample group. Account for their motivations, daily activities and personal preferences related to your product or service.
For example, a travel agency launching a “long weekend” promo might use a persona like this:
Morgan, 37 and single, is a serious professional who enjoys craft whiskey. She has a senior dog, so she doesn’t travel as often as she’d like. She’s getting burned out from work and needs to relax, but she bought a new house last year and money is tight.
From there, the travel agency can analyze how Morgan would react to various marketing campaigns and account for those reactions with touchpoints throughout the customer journey.
Analyzing the Full Journey
A customer journey map is a written description of the paths your personas might take as they discover, purchase and use your product or service.
The map should describe all the touchpoints your personas could encounter and how they might respond when interacting with your brand.
For example, Morgan’s journey map might look like this.
1) Morgan is working late, so she texts her girlfriends that they need to plan a long weekend vacation that’s budget friendly.
2) She searches online for destinations, focusing on dog-friendly accommodations within a four-hour drive.
3) The travel company appears at the top of the search results.
4) She visits the website and shares a few package options with her friends.
5) They evaluate and decide on the best package for everyone.
6) Morgan comes back to the website to book their travel for next month.
7) The group departs from their city and drives to the destination.
8) They enjoy their mini vacation and return home refreshed.
At each touchpoint, the travel agency should map out how its business and marketing might engage Morgan.
In the example above, Morgan’s interaction with the brand is entirely online. So, the company should consider all the elements of the web experience they provide. Does the listing on the Search Engine Results Page lead to the right landing page? Are the next steps to book the reservation clear? Is the form concise and easy to navigate? Is the payment form intuitive?
Next, the agency should consider how to keep Morgan and her friends excited about their upcoming trip with tailored content marketing delivered via email, such as a road trip playlist-building tool or a list of attractions to explore on the way to or at their destination.
After the first night, the company’s concierge might call Morgan to ensure things are going smoothly and find out if there’s anything the group needs to enhance their trip, such as a craft whiskey tasting, which the concierge could then help them book.
Post-purchase touchpoints are important, too. The travel company should strategize how to follow up with Morgan about her travel experience and determine when to re-engage her to plan another getaway.
Ready to better understand your audience so you can create tailored marketing messages? Give us a call at 419.462.9000 or complete this form.
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