Customer Personas and Sliced Bread

Posted by | March 10, 2016 | Customer Journey | No Comments
Customer Personas

We can all learn a thing or two from sliced bread. The common household food is well-known as the highest standard that all other products are compared to. In fact, who hasn’t heard the phrase, “the best thing since sliced bread?” This is why it’s so surprising that a product with its own phrase didn’t catch on for 15 years after it was created. Until Wonder bread came around, who knows what the “best thing since” was.

So what did Wonder bread do that caused sliced bread to finally catch on after it had been a dud for 15 years? They knew how to spread the idea to their customer personas and make it remarkable to them.

Behind every successful product is an idea that reached and interrupted people. Interruption is key in a market where consumers have more choices and too little time to sort through all their options. To generate a message that catches and spreads, it’s important to understand your customer personas and speak directly to them and their motivations.

Creating Customer Personas

“As a matter of fact, the world does revolve around [me],” Nicolaus Copernicus

For someone living in the 15th century, Copernicus certainly is relatable to modern consumers. Personalized marketing that revolves around the interests of individual consumers is increasingly important to be able to successfully interrupt in a way consumers can’t ignore. Understanding these different customer personas allows you to tailor your messages specifically to their needs and goals.

You should develop your customer personas to be representative of your ideal customer and create them by utilizing data and speculations of their motivations, needs, and goals. It can be tempting to go solely based on your gut when identifying your personas. However, data never lies and your personas should be based on actual research rather than just your assumptions.

The best place to start identifying your customer personas is with your current customers. Interviewing these customers can help you gather data based on their demographics, goals, challenges, objections, and other identifiers. Diving into this data can help you discover insight on who your best customers are, and what types of messaging might resonate most with them. Our blog post on leveraging data to build better customer personas also details the importance of your data and how to utilize it effectively.

The Medium and The Message

Now that you’ve identified key customer personas, you need to utilize the right channels to reach the right personas at the right time. This is where knowing your customer journey map can be helpful in identifying the points of contact your customers need to have with your brand to move them through their customer lifecycle from prospect to brand advocate.

When reaching out to your personas, the messaging is just as important as the channel. It’s no secret that we’re all constantly bombarded with company advertisements. It’s almost impossible nowadays to even use a public bathroom without being targeted by ads. Think of the last time you really paid attention to an idea being advertised to you. What was it about that idea that stood out to you?

Find Your Purple Cow

In Seth Godin’s standout Ted Talk, he notes that content needs to be remarkable in more than just being worthy of attention to stand out. It needs to be something you would make a remark about. Seth used his ‘purple cow’ example to depict this. If you’ve ever driven through Indiana, then you’ve definitely seen your fair share of cows. But I would be willing to bet that you’ve never seen a purple cow. The purple cow would be an interruption to the norm that is something you cannot ignore.

Your messaging needs to be a purple cow to your personas so that it interrupts the norm. The secret formula of interrupting your personas with the right message is a sure way to follow in the footsteps of Wonder bread and maybe even make your email marketing the best thing since sliced bread.

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Erica Stonehill

Product Enablement Manager at Right On Interactive
Erica Stonehill is in the Governor Bob Orr Entrepreneurial Fellowship where she serves as the Director of Marketing. She is a 2015 graduate of Miami University where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in strategic communication and marketing.
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