How to Use Consumer Personas to Identify your Target Market

Imagine an Olympic archer lining up to shoot, bow and arrow at the ready, but with no bullseye in sight. No way of measuring success, accuracy, or skill. That would take away a lot of the excitement from the sport. Archery without a bullseye as the goal is similar to marketing without a target market. With no focused goal in sight, how can you replicate or even measure success?

“Our audience is everyone.”

Oftentimes, when new clients join us and we ask them who their target market is, we get answers like “everyone” or “anyone who needs our service/product.” But the reality is, in this day and age “everyone” is a quite a large group (to say the least).

In that “demographic” of everyone, you have African Americans, Hispanics, Caucasians, Millennials, Baby Boomers, Generation Z, people making millions a year, people under the poverty line, men, women, Mid-westerners, Democrats, Republicans, entrepreneurs, high school graduates, college graduates with doctorates, etc. All of these demographic groups have different habits and needs, which affects how and where you can reach them.

Your audience is NOT everyone.

Putting in an effort to reach everyone will more than likely not work, and isn’t efficient or effective marketing. You may reach some people, but to reach any audience effectively, a focused target group is needed.

With the overload of information nowadays, strategizing for marketing through your target market is essential. Finding the right jargon, search terms, and needs of your audience can be the difference between them finding you and finding your competition, or the difference between consistent sales or possibly no sales at all. So how do you go about identifying that target market?

To answer that question, we can look at a project we recently did for our client Genesis Health Care, a FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center) medical company based in South Carolina. We were presented with the task of researching and finding their core market and creating a marketing plan based around our findings. To successfully achieve this, we took the path of creating target market personas.

These personas are characters that reflect the average consumer(s) that would use Genesis’ services. In the persona profiles, we defined the most important demographics of the consumer, and from these we were able to draw out their wants and needs―and how Genesis would be able to fulfill those needs.

Having this information is essential, because need fulfillment is essential to headlines, advertisement text, and even online search terms for SEO. Without this information, we would be building our ads and writing our copy blindly, like shooting arrows in a dark room simply hoping to hit anything. Talks with Genesis helped to create a broad understanding of what kind of people would benefit from their services, and with this we were able to begin the persona creation process in a way that was effective and focused.

We approached the personas using these 3 steps:

1. Understand Genesis’ Value Proposition

In order to sell Genesis’ unique service mix, we had to make sure we had a full understanding of their value proposition. With selling points like help for patients who don’t have insurance, free or discounted transportation to their facilities, and even pharmacies on site, we could find ways to bring people in the door and create an effective marketing campaign and strategy.

2. Demographic and Psychographic Research

Because Genesis provides in-person healthcare services, understanding the people who live around their offices is essential. Looking at demographics like education, average household income, age (by group), race, and even household size, along with the psychographics like personality, lifestyle, and values, of these groups, we were able to find out what kind of people we will likely be talking to, in order to decide how best to present the message (Genesis’ value proposition) to them.

3. Create Personas

The creation of consumer personas is where you find the crossroads of your demographic and psychographic research and the value proposition. With the unique services that Genesis provides, along with the demographic and psychographic data we gathered, we came up with three types of consumers who would benefit from their unique mix of services.

Having these personas in place gives us the pieces we now need to approach any marketing initiative with a clear focus in our messaging, copy writing, and design. It does not matter if it is a postcard campaign, a new blog post, a social media ad campaign, or even a community center booth for free blood pressure checks―we know who we are talking to and how to talk to them. This give us the bullseye to shoot at, making sure our marketing arrows reach them and hit the center of the target every time.

If you have any questions about how to go about creating your customer personas, or need any assistance in developing a marketing plan for your target market, please do not hesitate to contact us.