audience of people

Persona mapping and PR: all you need to know

Persona mapping is a critical business function that can help your marketing functions create better engagement and improve return on investment.

Businesses that are not basing their marketing efforts on solid persona mapping run the risk of creating ineffective content and marketing strategies, which could hurt their bottom line and more.

Knowing not only who you’re selling to, but how and why you are doing so is critical.

And in a crowded market, if you haven’t thought about persona mapping for your business, you need to!

What is persona mapping?

Persona mapping is the creation of detailed profiles of your ideal customers.

The purpose of this exercise is to paint a clear picture of your target audience, which will then inform your go-to-market strategies.

Whether you’re marketing products or services, clear persona maps will enable you to create more nuanced and effective marketing messages, offers and content that directly appeal to the specific wants and needs of your target audience.

Why is it important for my business?

Because persona mapping makes your marketing and communications more relatable and effective.

A detailed persona map allows you to hone your outreach to the platforms and people that you want to engage with, helping to ensure that your marketing efforts are reaching the right audiences.

Marketing metrics, such as reach and engagement are good barometers, and they’re really important. Ultimately, the most important measure of your marketing campaign or comms activity is its conversion rate.

Ensuring that your content is both engaging and converting into sales, requires an understanding of the user journey and a robust persona mapping process is the foundation of that understanding

Taking the time to develop your personas through persona mapping exercises provides critical customer insights that drive better business decisions. It’s an invaluable process for improving ROI.

Understanding your target audience

You first need to understand your audience and how they break down. When it comes to creating personas and targeting strategies, you need to know your target market.

This sounds obvious, but there’s an awful lot more nuance to this than you might believe. At the heart of this, is knowing the difference between users and buyers.

The User Persona

User Personas, as the title would suggest, focus on end users of a product/service. A user persona in marketing is a detailed fictional representation of your ideal target customer.

It’s a composite profile based on real data about your existing or target customer. But, when it comes to marketing products and services, users aren’t always the people making the purchasing decisions.

This is where a buyer persona is needed.

The Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is a similarly detailed fictional representation of your ideal target customer. But from the perspective of the buying and decision-making process.

Buyer Personas represent the decision-makers. These are the people who either have the power to purchase or are in the purchasing phase of the sales and marketing funnel.

The ‘Customer’ Sweet Spot

When undertaking a persona mapping exercise, it is important to consider these two personas. To focus on just one, may result in more ineffective marketing outcomes.

By creating both user and buyer personas simultaneously, you’ll find that you can easily unlock the sweet spot between the two. This is often referred to as your Customer Persona and is a combination of both user persona and buyer persona.

Particularly for B2B businesses, finding this customer persona – or personas – can be a particularly powerful piece of insight.

Creating a persona map

Exactly what goes into your persona map, or a buyer persona template, depends entirely on your business, products, services and target audience. There’s a lot of context to consider here.

Briefly putting contextualisation to one side, there are some things in a persona map that have to be included. These are generally your target audience’s wants and needs. So consider these three key pillars:

  • What do they want?
  • Why do they want it?
  • How do they want to achieve it?

Beyond this, you should only seek to include information that serves to meet your purposes and goals.

For example, if your services are particularly location-specific, then you need to factor location into your persona mapping. If your services are location agnostic, then going into great detail here will serve you little purpose.

Some buyer and user personas also feature some kind of demographic information. This can be basic demographics or something more detailed. Either way, don’t immediately consider this an ‘auto-include.’ If it genuinely adds valuable insights, then factor it into your persona creation.

The same applies to personal attributes and personality traits. These can be common within the ideal customer map. But when you’re creating these distinct personas if these traits grant you little by way of tangible output, then look to other features and details that do provide that.

It’s also highly unlikely that you’ll be creating just one persona. You’ll more than likely be creating a complementary set of user, buyer and customer personas.

For example, if you are a financial Software as a Service provider, your user persona would be a member of the finance team within a target organisation. Your buyer persona would likely be the CFO, while the customer would be the target business itself.

Having clear sight of all of these will allow you to paint a fuller picture.

Activating and optimising your personas

When it comes to putting your personas into action, this is where having all three personas mapped out is truly valuable.

The overarching goal here is to understand the wants and needs of your audience. These wants and needs must translate into marketing strategy and collateral, which will then convert into new business.

But, if you only have half, or one-third of the bigger picture mapped out, then there’s a high chance that the messaging and collateral you create may be falling flat.

If you’ve created a campaign, based entirely on a user target persona. You may find you get great engagement, they love your product and what it could do for them. But they have no purchasing power within their organisation, so your conversion rate suffers.

Likewise, if you’re hitting decision-makers with content and messaging that doesn’t answer their primary concerns, you might find that both your engagement and your ROI suffer.

It’s all about ensuring your serving the right content, to the right people at the right time.

The Bottom Line

By having all of these personas mapped out, you can better create targeted content and campaigns, resulting in greater ROI for your marketing efforts.

The goal of developing personas is to better understand the priorities, pain points, expectations and decision-making criteria within your target audiences.

With this kind of information at your disposal, you can more effectively target, message and sell to the right people, thus creating a more efficient and effective marketing function within your business.

If you’d like to speak to the AMBITIOUS team about undertaking a persona mapping exercise, or taking it a step further and leveraging our experience in creating insightful and impactful strategic communications strategies, then we’d love to hear from you… so get in touch.