Using Buyer Personas to Inspire Your AudienceMarketing 101 teaches that identifying your target buyer personas is key for successful marketing. But often, after businesses define their buyer persona(s), it’s a struggle to apply and utilize that persona into an effective strategy.
For example, a typical buyer persona for an agency like ourselves might be a small business owner who works hard in his small parts manufacturing firm, leading a staff of 20, and who has limited experience marketing his firm. While the business owner used to take an unbridled approach to hard work, now, he thinks a lot more about balance, spending time with family, and playing golf on the weekends.
Utilizing a Persona Once It’s Defined
The question here is: How do we take this example and make a useful strategy that speaks directly to him and gets his attention? Do we aim right for our persona — imitating his desires, emotions, and interests, and giving all he wants to hear right back to him? Do we take a content-focused approach by subtly offering our expertise, while targeting his areas of inexperience? Or, might there be even more effective strategies that draw on the less tangible details of this persona?
As tempting as it may be, today I won’t try to answer these questions. After all, I’m just Weidert Group’s intern, and project strategy is a bit above my pay grade. However, I do want to highlight an example that might provide some insight into just how creative we can get with buyer personas.
How Land’s End Is Leveraging Persona-Based Marketing
Recently, The New York Times reported on a creative attempt by Lands’ End to think differently about persona marketing. Using traditional advertising like magazine ads and televised commercials, Lands’ End has produced a campaign called “Made to Work,” which is aimed at selling a new line of normal, no-iron dress shirts. In the three commercials recently released, we see three men—Joe Branch, Justin Talt, and Reed Woodson—who are all clearly part of the regular Lands’ End audience.
However, Branch, Talt, and Woodson, are also different. They are leaders in various ways and all express deep values for work ethic, social change, and personal responsibility. While each seems like a “normal guy,” they also demonstrate a certain kind of ideal: finding success through hard work while caring for their fellow human beings.
So, is Lands’ End aiming to sell shirts to guys just like these young, inspiring change-makers? Somehow, I doubt it. “Change-makers” still are a pretty small market, these days. No. Lands’ End’s campaign is an example of smart persona-based marketing.
By providing these three examples, Land’s End has strategically chosen to offer the best and brightest of the group their marketing persona represents. The goal of this campaign is to inspire the audience into buying shirts by showing the top 1% of who that audience includes. Each commercial implicitly says, “this could be you,” and in response, the audience can’t help but be drawn in.
I’m a sucker for ideas like this, and maybe I’m just one of the most susceptible targets under Land’s End’s influence. However, I think in this case, there’s some real takeaways for marketers.
To use a persona effectively, you don’t always have to cushion your audience matching a strategy’s storyline, exactly to what a target person may want to hear. Often, inspiration can be a powerful tool. If you’re aiming to attract leads from the middle fifty percent of your audience, try looking toward the top 1% for ideas. They probably have some of the best thoughts around.
Start defining your own buyer personas with this free and helpful persona template and set of content creation worksheets.
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