We have been rambling this month about how our marketing relationships resemble that of a marriage. We began with identifying the current stage of the union we are in with our audience. If it were a marriage, it would be called the "Explosion" phase. Then we dove into the power of two-way communications. A method that marketers should use to navigate this stage with their customers.
Let's round this discussion off today by pedaling a bit backward. We'll revisit the "Honeymoon" phase and then bring us back to the present. Here is where the mystery brings about a tingly excitement. An attraction has created a magnetic draw, and the small amount either party knows about each other provides a sense of adventure. The thrill of beginning a new life together and all the goodness that will yield from becoming one unit paints a pretty picture of the future.
Little did we know, each person has entered into this marriage with a set of expectations. Can you guess what they are based on? There is an assumption believed by your spouse that you know them, and because you do, expectations will be met.
Here is where misunderstandings and disappointments commence. Couples work through these pitfalls as both individuals are equally responsible for having an awareness of each other's assumptions. However, in a marketing relationship, this burden falls to one. Can you guess who?
If you said the marketer, you nailed it! When we acquire a new customer, it is entirely up to us to know the set of expectations that they walk in the door with.
We cannot afford assumptions because when we lose a customer, the hardest thing to do is gain them back. Couples have therapy. We have competitors.
Here's another kicker. Not only do we need to identify our audiences' expectations, but we must, I REPEAT, we must fulfill them. Again, no therapy sessions here, just good ole' competition. Our customers will abandon ship and start a new relationship better suited to meet their needs. So, how do we avoid this stepping out? Personification!
This is just us marketers' fancy way of saying, get to know your audience. We need to develop personas for our different customer segments. Whether you have customers, donors, members, or committees, all your organizations' stakeholders should have a defined persona. When asked, "Who are your customers," without hesitation, we should be able to regurgitate their identity.
Personas provide meaningful models used to assess your marketing strategy. Constructing personas helps you ask the right questions and answer those questions in line with the audience you are marketing to. When developing marketing plans to execute, you need a target—a who behind the bullseyes. For example, say you are planning a birthday party for a special someone. All of the details about that party will center around the birthday boy or girl. The more you know about the person, the higher the probability you will create a party to their liking.
Creating personas allows you to understand the needs, experiences, behaviors, and goals of your customers. You gain a greater sense of their why or reason for being in a relationship with your brand. Therefore, you no longer have to force-feed your offerings but instead tailor it, so it sells itself.
Personas help us step outside of ourselves. Now, instead of marketing to our audiences, we market with them. That's what relationships are all about.
Want a deep dive on how personas are developed? Tune in next week when we provide step-by-step guidance on crafting an audience mapping that works for you.