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Before content, think customers!

Before content, think customers!

When considering what type of content marketing might work for you, there are two things to consider here: what makes sense for your customers and what makes sense for your own brand.

The video above shows how Burger King thinks about its customers and its brand. Its brand is cheeky, irreverent and bold. It’s not a strategy that would work for every brand but it certainly appeals to Burger King customers.

Let’s start with an exercise to look at what works for customers. The most important thing is to understand who your customers are, so that you can work out where to reach them. One good way to think about customers is to create marketing personas.

Marketing personas are semi-fictional representations of your target customers based on data and research. The idea is that these personas represent the people you want to use your product.

The value of personas is that they help you:

  • Understand these buyers and where you might reach them
  • Work out what type of messages or content you need for these people
  • Appreciate the customer as a full person and what may influence their behaviour

The goal here is to sketch out some customer personas and put together profiles of people in your customer base as if they’re real. We cover creating personas and segmentation in detail in our other FutureLearn courses ‘Marketing Strategy’ and ‘Brand Strategy’.

But when thinking about content marketing specifically, it’s important that your personas cover the media choices, online behaviour and interests of your customers.

Areas you may cover in your persona include:

  • Background (basic details about the person, age/gender)
  • Job (what kind of job might this person do?)
  • Income (how much money does this person have to spend?)
  • Information sources (where does this person find their information? TV? Social media? Newspapers?)
  • Goals (what is this person trying to accomplish)
  • Challenges or pain points (what issues does this person have?)
  • Values (are there things that are important to this person?)
  • Objections (what are things this person might have against buying your product or service?)
  • Role in purchasing (are they the end buyer or do they just influence the decision)?
  • Marketing message (What appeals to this person? Content marketing? Digital marketing? TV?)

Let’s give you a couple of examples of how you can think about personas. You have a new anti-ageing cosmetics brand. It uses natural ingredients but you’re planning to sell it at a fairly low price point so it’s affordable for lots of people. You think that a content marketing campaign would be a good way to reach people and tell them about the anti-ageing and natural benefits of the make-up.

Your persona work might sketch out a person like Julia, who is 55, who loves getting value for money. She doesn’t just want cheap things but she loves to feel like she has got a bargain. She has a certain amount of disposable income but is a savvy shopper. She isn’t convinced by straightforward advertising; she likes her products to be recommended by trusted media outlets. She will most often buy when there is a discount available. Julia is your primary persona; most of your customers will be similar to Julia.

A secondary persona might be Ari. She is 32 and has just noticed some fine lines. She isn’t super focused on ageing due to her age, but she wants to upgrade from her usual cream. She isn’t going to spend a large amount of money as anti-ageing isn’t a huge concern, but she is very interested in natural products so this would attract her. Ari doesn’t really watch TV except Netflix to binge watch series but uses a lot of social media. She gets product recommendations from Instagram and watches make up tutorials on YouTube.

Most businesses have some core, targeted customer personas – like Julia above – but you may also have some that are people who may also buy your product, even if they’re not the core group, like Ari.

If you aren’t sure who your customers might be, this is a great time to do research. Market research is a major discipline in its own right but even an online survey or phoning customers can help you understand them better if you don’t have access to anything more detailed. Even observing the type of people commenting on similar content is a help here.You need to put all those insights into action.

Have you created personas before? Any tips for other learners? Share them if so.

This article is from the free online

Content Marketing Strategy with Advertising Week

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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