Will Customer Profiles Replace Marketing Personas?

Will Customer Profiles Replace Marketing Personas?

Emerging technologies make it possible to move segmentation and personalization models beyond marketing personas to distinct, individual customer profiles. This evolution from buyer personas to individual profiles can provide superior personalization and an enhanced experience for shoppers. This customer data is collected, analyzed, aggregated, and organized into groups or cohorts. Personalization Personas help marketers understand or think about groups of shoppers. While the persona for “Tom” may describe what individuals in this group generally have in common — such as occupation or location — it still ignores distinctions within the cohort. Individual Profiles The movement from personas to profiles begins with collecting much more comprehensive, even real-time, customer information across all sales channels and interactions and placing all of it in a single database, where it can be analyzed and used to draw conclusions not about a group of people, but rather about individual people. But rather than generalizing this information to describe a group, the marketer will store it for a single customer. Social media identity, including a Facebook profile and similar. This retailer may want to remarket the Carhartt jacket to the non-buying shopper with on-site merchandising and email. The retailer would not be marketing to a “Tom” persona, but to actual individuals.

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Emerging technologies make it possible to move segmentation and personalization models beyond marketing personas to distinct, individual customer profiles.

The ability to collect customer information, organize it (i.e., big data), and draw insights from it (i.e., machine learning) makes it possible for marketers to evolve.

This evolution from buyer personas to individual profiles can provide superior personalization and an enhanced experience for shoppers. In turn, if retailers offer a more personalized shopping experience, they may sell more products.

Marketing Personas

Marketing personas are composite sketches or representations of your business’s most important customer segments. These sketches stem from information about your customers’ demographics, behavior, and motivation. This customer data is collected, analyzed, aggregated, and organized into groups or cohorts. These cohorts become the building blocks for a buyer persona.

Personas organize shoppers into groups. Although marketers will speak about personas by individual names, such as
Personas organize shoppers into groups. Although marketers will speak about personas by individual names, such as “Tom,” the data is a composite of that group.

For example, a retailer that sells workwear from brands such as Carhartt, Walls, Dickies, or Berne might have a marketing persona like this.

NAME: Tom
OCCUPATION: Construction foreman
INCOME: $52,000 per year
AGE: 42
GENDER: Male
RELATIONSHIP: Married with children
HABITATION: Suburban home owner
REGION: Pacific Northwest
EDUCATION: High school, some college
GOALS: Comfort on the job, durability, acceptance within peer group

The “Tom” persona could guide some marketing decisions.

Personas help us understand groups of customers and prospects, which enables us to (a) deliver relevant marketing messages, (b) segment email lists, and (c) decide what to write about in a blog post.

In fact, personas are now and will likely remain an important marketing tool, but they are not the end of customer understanding.

Personalization

Personas help marketers understand or think about groups of shoppers. This approach is a lot better than just making guesses about what shoppers want.

Guessing, unfortunately, is what a lot of retailers do.

With personas, marketers don’t have to rely…

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