So far in my series on developing a communication plan for your customer retention program I’ve explained why you need a customer retention program, introduced the four steps for developing a communication plan for that customer retention program, and delved more deeply into step one, which is analyzing current customer behavior, including potentially completing a Consumer Buying Behavior Study. Today, in the final article in this series, I’m going to provide more information about step number two: Developing customer profiles and personas.
Start segmenting your data
The customer profile is really the “nuts and bolts” of your program. To develop customer profiles you need to take all of that data that you gathered in step one and start segmenting it based on demographics, usage and any other relevant factors. I like to think in terms of creating “buckets.”
So for example, bucket #1 might be single college-educated 35-year-old males who drive pickup trucks. Bucket #2 might be married college-educated 43-year-old females who have two children and drive mini-vans. And so forth.
Then break things down even further
Once you have identified your typical customer profiles at the high level you can then break things down even further to get to the “buyer persona” level. This can be based on age brackets (in the above example the average age in bucket #1 might be 35, but the actual range might be from 20 to 68), life stages (how old are those two children?), buying patterns, or any other relevant factors. When you do this you might find that each of your customer profile “buckets” contains a number of different customer personas.
Creating customer personas helps you to put a face to things. In fact, many companies actually use stock photos and names to identify and personalize each persona.
I know an accountant who has determined that his most profitable customers are 45-year-old male entrepreneurs who make between one and two million dollars a year. In addition, he has learned what networking events these entrepreneurs like to attend. My accountant friend has named this customer persona “Steve.” “When I do my prospecting,” he says, “I only go after Steve. I don’t waste my time pursuing others. And because I know where Steve likes to network, these are the only ones that I take the time to attend.”
Begin to create stories
The ultimate goal of creating personas is to give you such a clear understanding of who your customer is that you can put stories around these personas and zero in on the type of messaging that will appeal to each group.
For example, a life insurance company can use this approach to create an ad campaign that has different versions targeting different buyer personas. For families with young children the ads can show young parents at the park playing with their kids, and the messaging can talk about making sure your kids are taken care of. For older adults the images and messaging can be about ensuring your spouse is taken care of if something should happen to you.
Customer personas help build out a bigger story, which in turn helps build out a bigger and better plan. What should the messaging be? Where should the messaging be placed? Etc.
Of course, if you need help with any of this, give us a call. We’re always here for you.