Personas Aren’t Personal Without Data

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The principal focus of strategic planning at TA is to help marketers understand their customers. By looking at the world through customers’ eyes, we can help brands communicate what matters most so they are better able to create lasting emotional connections that drive value. 

To do this, strategic planning plays the role of detective, seeking to solve mysteries such as what specific value proposition or differentiator will resonate with a particular buyer at a specific moment in their journey. And like any good detective, we ask a lot of questions and are heavily invested in research. We synthesize data into actionable insights capable of transforming integrated marketing campaigns into meaningful experiences.

At TA, we use much of this data and analysis to develop personas because we believe one of the most important items any marketer can have in their strategic planning toolkit is data-driven customer personas. A data-driven customer persona is the first step toward developing a multidimensional customer journey. This is necessary for building an integrated marketing campaign that ultimately leads to the one-to-one relationship customers expect and where brands find long-term value. 

These relationships between brands and their customers also build a solid foundation for tracking the effectiveness of every customer interaction throughout an integrated marketing campaign. Measuring what really matters, when, and for whom allows us to continually optimize our marketing activities.

Today, leveraging data to understand your customer and inform how you connect with them is necessary to create a hyper-relevant brand. And nearly every brand has some form of data about their market and their customer—the real challenge is using the right data the right way. That’s why at TA, persona and customer journey development begins by working with our skilled data analysts. These experts cluster large volumes of data from various sources based on three customer traits: behavioral, attitudinal and demographic. With this data in hand, we define key personas and map out the journeys they take toward purchase. 

This approach came to life on a recent project we worked on with AARP’s Drivers Safety team. Starting with both demographic and behavioral data, participants and prospects for driver safety courses were grouped based on similar behaviors to create data-driven proto-personas. This helped us understand the relationship each persona has with AARP’s Drivers Safety courses and how their motivations for taking a course might differ. We then tested key messages by persona through online surveys. These surveys helped validate messaging and provided another opportunity to understand audience attitudes. 

After we developed a sense of which messaging worked best to motivate different groups, a model was created to align prospects into each persona category and present each group with the appropriate messaging across multiple communications channels. And in the end, after collecting data, building personas and models, segmenting audiences, and testing, AARP Drivers Safety delivers a message that is more relevant to their audiences and helps drive action.

It’s true that creating data-driven personas and customer journeys takes time and effort. But the results can be leveraged across one’s marketing organization to drive better interactions, build emotional connections and create value. And with the right strategic planning partner, the internal effort can be minimized. Contact TA today to learn more about how we can help you build your own data-driven personas and customer journeys.

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August 28, 2020by kyle jeffreys

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