What are These Marketing Personas Anyway?

Chloe Nichols By Chloe Nichols, Writer & Captivating Storyteller, Extra Mile Marketing

If someone were to ask you to describe your target audience, what would you say? Would you be specific or broad? Trying to market to as large of an audience as possible, many might create a general target description that covers a large base of potential customers. But, believing you need a broad audience is a common misnomer.

When it comes to the targets you are trying to reach, being as specific as possible is actually better. I know it may sound like you are passing up potential sales, but if you take a step back, it makes sense. More often than not, when it comes to describing target audiences, people like to say: "it's everyone who...".

But if you really think about it, "everyone" is really, really big. Trying to market your product or service to “everyone” creates a huge challenge. How do you reach “everyone” or speak to all the members of your audiences? Pinpointing exactly who your customers are makes it easier to target your marketing and reach individuals who will become loyal customers that truly benefit from your relationship.

You can Choose Your Customers
Author and Entrepreneur Seth Godin is known for his straightforward, effective marketing style. In the article, Seth Godin: 7 Truths At The Heart of Marketing (& How to Use Them), he explains that by really defining your customer, you can take control of your business:
"Choose your customers, choose your future...know your customers defined in terms of demographics, psychographics and past behaviors… Extend your understanding of your customers and integrate this knowledge into your strategies. Create marketing personas to make customers real."

What is a Marketing Persona?
A marketing persona is a profile that you create to describe your ideal customers. When building a persona, you want to go beyond the basics of demographics and really think about what that person is like, what they do at work, what they do when not working, what concerns them, and what keeps them up at night.

You might be asking yourself where you should start when creating a marketing persona. I have found that the following points are a great place to begin:

  • Start with the basics: Age, gender, location.Then move to their interests, hobbies, what they do for a living, what they do on their time off.
  • Go a step further: are they married, single, have a family? We like to think of 3 things:
      1. Their hands—what do they do?
      2. Their brain—what do they think about?
      3. Their heart—what do they care about?
  • And then the hardest part: how will your product or service help them; professionally and personally. What is your role in your customers’ lives?

While this may seem difficult, the payoff is truly worth it. By putting yourself in your customer's shoes, you will understand how to effectively market your product or service, allowing you to target your efforts and maximize your budget.

Using a Marketing Persona
Marketing Personas can be used for more than just defining your customer. They also help you to create use-case examples to make your product or service easier to understand and sell.
In fact, at EMM, we have created marketing personas for clients for a broad variety of reasons. Our personas have been used to create marketing strategies, help with the development of content, and as training materials for sales teams to learn how to sell a product or service. Once you understand who your targets are, the possibilities are endless.

Revisiting your Defined Ideal Customer
Now that you have defined your ideal customer and created your marketing personas, it is essential that you revisit these often. This is key to your continued success. Your product or service offering will change over time. With these changes, it is important to review your marketing personas and see if the shoe still fits.

If your defined ideal customer has changed, be sure to update your marketing personas, and then update your marketing and sales materials. This will ensure that you continue to market to the correct audience.

Getting Started
I’m sure there is one question you all have on your mind: how do you go about getting started? I recommend grabbing a team member or two, blocking out a good, solid hour to start (maybe bring some coffee and snacks) and begin brainstorming.

Think about the hands, the brain, and the heart. You may feel silly at first, but once you hit your stride, you will start to understand the importance behind the exercise. And of course, if you get stuck, don't be afraid to holler our way!



Using marketing personas in an email campaign improved open rate by 2x and click-through rate by 5x.

Using marketing personas made websites 2-5x more effective and easier to use by targeted users.

Buyers are 48% more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing.

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