It’s Not About You: Why Persona-Centric Marketing Collateral Is Effective

We all know someone who can’t stop talking about themselves. But did you ever notice how some brands in the marketing world exhibit the same behavior?

Unfortunately, brand-centric messaging is not a viable practice for marketers. Audiences demand personalized content that meets their needs, not the needs of the brand.

Creating collateral that speaks to your target audience can be done through personas, a visual representation of your audience. At Brilliant Metrics, we champion the use of personas as they enable marketers to delve into the minds of their audience, comprehend their desires, needs, and expectations, and tailor content to suit each stage of the customer journey.

Using personas to guide the design and creation of collateral has many benefits, but in this post, we focus on three.

Benefit 1: The Audience Gets the Information They Need Based on Their Stage in the Customer Journey

Every customer is in a different stage of experience with a brand. Some are hearing about a brand for the first time, others are researching a particular brand or product, and still others are ready to purchase a specific item or service from a business they know and trust.

Personas can be segmented into one of three stages of a customer journey, See, Think, Do, a framework popularized by Avinash Kaushik. Collateral in the “See” stage is meant to support brand awareness. It can be engaging and entertaining, but should not have a call to action. “Think” collateral is created to educate and inform, or to change a prospect’s perception about a product or service. “Do” collateral is highly actionable with a strong call to action.

Marketing collateral becomes truly impactful when it addresses the needs of your persona at their specific stage in the customer journey. This is because individuals seeking information about your business are not solely interested in learning about your company; instead, they are primarily focused on understanding how your offerings can help them progress or satisfy a particular need.

To put this idea into context, a mom researching the best family-friendly SUV is in a very different stage of the customer journey than a mom ready to put money down today on a Ford Flex Limited. The mom researching SUVs is in the “Think” stage and is positioned to receive “Think” collateral, rather than the mom in the “Do” stage of the cycle, who is ready to convert.

Benefit 2: Your Messages Resonate Because They Meet Audience Expectations of the Channel

Marketers can win major brownie points with their audience by creating collateral that speaks the language native to the channel it is published on. We can all relate to the experience of scrolling through our social media feeds and feeling irritated by a disruptive promoted post or sidebar advertisement that does not match the context of the platform we are using.

“Smart, native social media tries to enhance the customer’s interaction with a platform, not distract him from it,” says Gary Vaynerchuk in “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.” “When you create stellar content native to a platform’s context, you can make a person feel; if your content can make a person feel, he is likely to share it with others.”

When we as marketers see the world through our personas’ point of view, we are in touch with their daily frustrations and goals and better able to tailor messages to the channels they visit. This awareness demonstrates that your brand is aligned with your customer’s needs and values.

Good examples of native collateral include a professional article on LinkedIn’s Pulse, a guide to getting the most from a trade show you are exhibiting at, an email from an address you can actually reply to, or a targeted board on Pinterest. Such collateral adds excellent value to a prospect’s experience.

When collateral does not speak the language that is native to the channel it is published on, a red flag is raised to audiences that the brand is either not concerned with the needs of its audience, or that it does not understand their needs. Both are bad scenarios for your brand.

Benefit 3: Persona-Centric Marketing Collateral Results in Cost Savings

A chef may throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks, but this method leads to considerable waste. Similarly, promoting and distributing non-targeted collateral to identify which message connects with the audience can be inefficient and result in wasted resources.

Utilizing personas for crafting targeted collateral eliminates the guesswork involved in “seeing what sticks.” By understanding your audience’s pain points through personas, you can create personalized content that has been proven to enhance customer engagement. This enables you to communicate more effectively with your audience and save resources that would have otherwise been spent on revisions to creative or content.

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