What is a marketing persona?

Wikipedia defines a persona as:

A persona, in user-centered design and marketing, is a fictional character created to represent a user type that might use a site, brand, or product in a similar way. Marketers may use personas together with market segmentation, where the qualitative personas are constructed to be representative of specific segments.

When you are writing and developing content and just marketing overall,  you want to make sure you are writing to one person for each ad and each piece of content.

You are delivering something to them that they want or need through your words and style.

Take a minute and think about an ad that you once saw that made you nod your head or say, “Yes! That’s me!”

That’s what a successful marketing persona can result in.

I regularly introduce marketing personas with an example of someone looking for assisted living for their aging parent or grandparent.

The person looking for an assisted living facility is female, married, ages 50-65, with children in high school or college. She is the daughter or daughter-in-law of the person in need of moving to the assisted living facility. She is employed part-time or full-time.

She has a very short window to find a facility as her parent or grandparent had a fall at home and is being released from a sub-acute rehab within the next week or next few days.

She has a lot of pressure on her and is trying to make this work as best she can. She is feeling pressure to find the right place within the budget they have. The biggest struggle she has is that she is working against the clock.

What message will resonate with her?

What does she need to know? If you are an assisted living facility, how can you help her?

Can you imagine being her and struggling with this?

What would resonate with you?

What would turn you off?

If you are thinking about this woman as you are writing, your message will result in better performance than if you are thinking about the features and benefits and selling your assisted living facility rather than solving her problem.

Make sense?

Now, this blog is written for Successful Sally.

Why do you need a marketing persona

  • She is 48 years old and married. She has her own business and is working on her marketing plan for 2021 to set herself up for success following the effects of COVID-19.
  • She has older children.
  • She speaks English and lives in a suburb of Detroit.
  • She has a college degree.
  • She shops at Target and Nordstrom.
  • Her biggest challenge is finding the time to work on her business, not just in her business.
  • She prefers to communicate with her vendors over email but will do phone calls as necessary.
  • She is active on Facebook and LinkedIn. She is experimenting with Instagram for her business.
  • She is willing to outsource her marketing if she can get a good value, and the total investment is reasonable for her growing business.
  • Quote: “I know I need to grow my business, but I just don’t have the time.”

How do you create a persona for your ideal client?


It is surprising how little we know about our clients.

We don’t ask them enough information. Often, we are guessing who they are and what motivates them.

If you want to replicate those clients, you need to know who they are, where they are, what they are doing, and how to find them.

What do they struggle with?

How can you help?

Now, my made-up persona for Successful Sally isn’t perfect, and it is just made up, but it does showcase some of the important pieces of what makes up a persona.

Key components of a marketing persona

Marketing personas include the following information related to your ideal customer.

  • Name and photo to see the person you are writing to
  • Demographic information- how old are they, are they male or female, married, single, divorced
  • Education level- high school, some college, college degree, masters degree
  • Experience level- how many years have they been working in this field
  • Job title and responsibilities
  • Goals for their business or what they would want from you
  • What technology do they use?
  • What social media sites are they on?
  • How do they prefer to communicate with you?
  • What is their problem?
  • A quote that describes something they would say.

8 resources to help you create marketing personas.

Are you looking for a place to start on the research? Here are a few ideas we put together:

  1. County small business resources. I LOVE the Oakland County One Stop Shop. The information they can give you is amazing and free. They can provide a wealth of information about your target audience, financials, and more. I strongly recommend seeing what your county has available and leveraging its resources.
  2. Facebook Insights. Take a look at who is following your business and benchmark that data if it is appropriate. Now if you know your friends and family are your biggest followers or you are looking to diversify from the clients/followers you have right now, you may want to ignore this source, but if you want them. Click here to learn more.
  3. Use LinkedIn. What is your target or current customer posting about? What groups are they members of? What information can you glean from their profile for education, age, job title, job responsibilities?
  4. Interviews. These take a lot of time and if you are like Sally, you don’t have enough and need faster and easier ways to do this, but we do feel obligated to highlight it.
  5. Ask questions on social media. You have some ideas where your personas are on social media, right? Ask them. Whether it is Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, ask questions about what their biggest challenge is, what they are struggling with and other questions you are wondering about that will help you understand your target better.
  6. Search the internet. Read blogs, reports, check, and see what people are searching for online and understand the challenges around different industries.
  7. Read job descriptions. Want to better understand your target audience and their level of education, years of experience, etc? See who companies are searching for in their job descriptions.
  8. Your local college or university. Let’s give the local college or university students an opportunity to conduct some real-world research and help you out. Work with a professor on a class project that can help your business.

There are a wealth of resources available you can find online, in your local community, and using some creativity.

I encourage you to spend time figuring out who you are writing for and who you are marketing to. Create content for them that they want to read and will make them want to do business with you.

Investing in your foundation leads to a much more successful business.

Looking to learn more? Be sure to join us for our 2021 Marketing Planning Course starting on January 1, 2021.