Thursday 30 November 2017, Leeds

In November the Yorkshire committee held a seminar entitled Building Client Personas.  The speaker was Sam Turner, Head of Digital at Clients First, a digital marketing agency specifically for professional services based in Macclesfield.  The event was hosted by Clarion LLP.

Sam is no stranger to PM Forum having appeared in PM Forum magazine early in the year.  His seminar discussed building client personas – fictional representations of clients and prospects – which help test your entire marketing mix. He talked about how to look into the soul of clients and prospects to discover their goals and the challenges they face, all through the prism of the services you provide.  What is keeping them awake at night and how you should alter the way you position your marketing messages.

Sam first talked about some quick wins for business development – emails with a call to action, using HubSpot, an innovative piece of software to book meetings with a prospects, take useful information to your prospects, use data to market smarter but remember the real customer and be empathetic, use personalisation to impress.

Sam moved the discussion onto why use personas and how they are proven to increase marketing generated revenue, increase the amount of time spent visiting the website, increase the amount of pages opened and increase an email open rate. Despite this 44% of marketing professionals don’t use personas.

Personas are one just one type of personalisation.  A marketing persona is a personalised, fictional, generalised representation of a defined and individualised market segment.  Normally this is expressed in a template. Often the market segment represents your ideal client, but not necessarily. Client personas help marketing to tailor campaigns and messaging to your clients’ beliefs, goals and challenges, place that messaging in the right place, overcome objections and, ultimately, secure more of the right sort of client.

The way to build a persona is to first build a template that suits your firm.  Sam provided a link to a template which all seminar attendees could use and he also discussed quick starting points for developing a template - their job title and/or industry, their goals, their challenges, their communications preference and why they would and wouldn’t want to buy your service.  Once the template is agreed the next, very important, stage is research and Sam recommended getting an outsider to complete this research.  Once you have the information from the research with your current clients you can then populate the template.

Warning persona danger! Don’t let your personas lull you into a false sense of security – they need to be constantly challenged and updated by the team.  Also personas need to be put into play through awareness, strategy, technology and automation.  Awareness - every member of the team needs to be aware the personas exist.  Don’t build them and leave them in a folder.  Strategy – use the personas to influence your marketing.  Technology and automation – manually assigning personas is not a fun job so use the power of technology.

Sam finished by reiterating that personas are one form of personalisation but they are the tool to really enable powerful personalisation.

Written by Isobel Hainsworth-Brear, PM Forum Yorkshire Chair
Director, Print-Leeds Limited