Millennial Mark. Corporate Mom. Travelling Sam. Customer personas often get names just like these.
What are they exactly? Great question and one you should definitely be asking if your organization hasn’t yet created customer (or buyer) personas.
Millennial Mark and his “friends” are fictional characters that define the customer groups you want to attract and retain. In a nutshell, for entertainment organizations, they are representations of the consumers who are attending your events, buying merchandise, becoming members, making donations and more.
Why Are Customer Personas Important?
Personas help staff intuitively understand and relate to your customers, which is important to just about every aspect of an entertainment organization’s business, including:
- Marketing – to tailor messaging and content to your audience and target or personalize it for different segments.
- Advertising – to create traditional and online ads that are laser focused on potential buyers.
- Sales – to offer products and services that your audience wants to buy.
- Customer service – to ensure service excellence throughout the customer journey.
- Fundraising – to ensure there is a personal connection to every “ask”.
- Production – to book and produce desirable programming.
Creating customer personas isn’t rocket science. It just takes time, the ability to ask the right questions and a great template to summarize your findings in a way that is useful for everyone.
Depending on the size of your organization, you may have just a handful of personas. If you serve a diverse audience, you could have as many as 10 or 20. Don’t let this overwhelm you. The important thing is to start somewhere. You can always add other personas later on.
Here are some tips to help get you started:
- Find three to five people to interview for each persona. Start with colleagues who interact regularly with your customers. Include a mix of current customers and prospects too. Be clear that you are not trying to sell them something, make it easy for them to participate by offering flexible times to chat and offer a small incentive to say thanks.
- Create and use a standard list of questions. This way you won’t miss anything during the interviews. Ask “why” a lot because you are trying to understand behaviors and people are not always good at explaining why they do what they do.
- Use your customer data. If your e-commerce platform has an integrated CRM, you’ll have great data at your disposal. Run reports to uncover demographics, trends and consumer behavior.
- Create surveys and web forms to gain more insight. For example, where do people from each persona live? What are their interests? Favorite media and websites? This can help determine how far each consumer group travels to see your events, what type of products they may buy and what type of advertising will reach them.
- Consolidate your findings. Create a profile that includes the location, age, gender, interests, education level, job category and relationship status. Also include pain points, motivators, attitudes and media preferences. Then, give each persona a name – like “Millennial Mark,” “Corporate Mom” or “Travelling Sam” – and consider using a photo too. This makes them come alive for everyone in your organization.
- Keep it simple. Personas can get really detailed but that often makes them cumbersome to use and they get shelved. Keeping them simple will ensure they are used by your colleagues, with positive results.
Your customer personas will change with time – and this is a good thing! Update them regularly as you learn more and add new ones as your audience grows and changes. Your organization – and its bottom line – will thank you for the time invested to understand your most important customer groups.