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Using personas

In this step you learn how to use conceptions of customer personas to inform marketing communication.

When creating communications, or writing briefs for them, you can use personas to instruct your campaign.

Let’s have a look at a few decisions personas can help inform:

Channel selection: Selecting the right channel to communicate with your audience will impact how effective your marketing activity is. Do you want to use Twitter or Facebook? Emails or online advertising? Send something in the post or put leaflets in supermarkets? Each of your personas will have preferred channels of communication. Only by understanding the audiences of different communication channels, can you match the channel to the persona.

Creative: You will need to follow your brand guidelines to determine what your communications look like, but within those guidelines, there will be room to appeal to each of your different personas. Think about how you use your colour palette and the assets you select.

Messaging: Your messaging may differ from one persona to another, even if you are sending them the same campaign. By adjusting the focus you can make the communication more relevant. For example, a new product launch campaign may put emphasis on different features for each persona. All of these elements of planning a marketing campaign should be influenced by your personas, in order to be more focused on who your customers are and to meet their interests.

Audience selection: There are so many different ways you can segment an audience, and you should always match the communication/creative/messaging with the audience segments. This will build trust and engagement with your audiences. If you send content which is of little relevance to your audience they are likely to opt-out of communications, or, worse, become resentful of your brand for ‘spamming’ them.

Like customer segmentation, a persona will degrade over time. Ensure your personas are still up to date and the information you have on your customers is the best it can be. However, be careful not to view personas as a replacement for audience segments. While personas are a great tool for gaining an understanding of your audience, you’ll find them too broad or too simplistic if relied on to select audiences for targeted campaigns. This is particularly true in direct marketing channels like email and direct mail.

Join the Discussion

Now that you have a better understanding of what constitutes a persona, write two or three sentences to describe a customer persona which you think an organisation of your choice uses to shape its creative direction.
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Introduction to Marketing: Understanding your Customers

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