Putting the Persona in Persona-Based Marketing

If you want to understand your audience, identify their pain points and win them over, persona-based marketing is critically important. 

Know Your Customer — it’s the First Commandment of Marketing. It’s also the reason why persona-based marketing is so critically important for modern brands. Without identifying who your customers are, you can’t understand what motivates them, identify their pain points and connect with them.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at why persona-based marketing is a powerful tool for advertisers, marketers and brands.

Putting the persona in persona-based marketing

So how do brands get their feet wet in persona-based marketing? First, it’s necessary to create detailed profiles of your potential buyers. These buyer personas then serve as the core of your targeted marketing strategy; they are idealized representations of the audience most likely to purchase your products and services.

A buyer persona is a comprehensive image of a customer that reflects who they are, what motivates them and their propensity to act through each stage of the sales cycle. Some businesses will only need to develop two or three personas, others may be better served by a dozen or more.

These personas are based on a variety of sources, including:

  • Market research into probable buyers, including surveys and in-person interviews. This research provides a fuller picture of the wants, needs and tendencies of a brand’s likely market.
  • Insights and feedback gleaned from existing customers. The same research process can be applied to a brand’s current client set, and this process often provides unique insights, given that these audiences are already familiar with the products or services on offer. Brands also often work with their in-house sales team to learn more about existing and potential customers.
  • Sourced and analyzed consumer data. Customers often say they want one thing, then go buy another. Our words and intentions don’t always reflect our actions, and objective data can help provide another window into what truly moves buyers. 
  • Broader market, industry and demographic information. This data can provide critical context during the brand persona creation process. Such information allows brands to take a wider angle view, and anticipate looming changes within markets and industries. If you can anticipate these changes, you can also anticipate how customers may be affected.

Buyer persona categorization

Brands developing persona-based marketing strategies should also understand that different classes of buyers require varying approaches. For example, when dealing with individual buyers (someone who makes a one-time retail purchase, for example), you’d create a single persona type with a variety of personas to fit within that type. A persona development agency can help you accomplish this task.

B2B operations, however, are often led by sales teams rather than a single buyer. C suite executives, sales leaders, marketing leaders etc. may all be involved in the procurement/sales process. In such cases, brands create team-based personas. These often include a dedicated persona for each member of the purchasing team — personas that outline the specific prerogatives inherent to each position. For example, a team persona designed for a Chief Financial Officer would focus on pricing issues, ROI and other monetary motivators.

Working with the right persona development agency

Buyer persona development, when done at a high level, requires research expertise, industry knowledge and an advanced grasp of marketing strategy. It’s often a tall order for brands to accomplish this without outside help.

At Bigeye, we’re experts at creating finely targeted buyer personas supported by experience and insight. Contact us today to learn more about what the right  agency can do for you. 

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Find Your Brand’s Voice With Brand Identity

Before you can present a cohesive brand image that allows your company to communicate with a singular brand voice, you must determine and develop your company’s unique brand identity.

Even seasoned business leaders and marketing professionals can get a bit lost when it comes to the complexities of branding methodology and contingent content marketing processes. However, The Balance Small Business, an independent source of business news and information, breaks down the difference between brand identity and brand image quite succinctly. In short, brand identity encompasses all components of a company that define it intrinsically. It is the intent behind the company brand image, which it will attempt to project in the minds of consumers. 

To make the identity/image distinction clearer, it may be helpful to think of your company as a living person. In a person, identity relates to a personal understanding of the self, while image refers to the cultivated face that each individual shows to others.

The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” wisely places identity before image in order to stress that man must live according to his nature. The branding of companies must follow the same general principle, allowing brand identity to determine brand image and dictate brand voice.

In order to arrive at a brand identity that is right for you, you must consider not only what your company stands for but also whom your company is trying to reach.

Know your audience

Before you can develop the brand identity that will allow you to speak to your audience in a unified and compelling voice, you must determine who your audience is with absolute precision and considerable detail.  

Because your brand identity will determine the public image of your company in all respects, you must be sure that it is compatible with your target customer base. For example, any brand name, logo, and/or slogan that is geared toward millennials should be drastically different from those of a brand that is geared toward baby boomers. Remember the golden rule of brand strategy when it comes to audience targeting: companies that try to reach everybody will ultimately reach nobody.

Know your company

With your target audience firmly in mind, you can more adequately address consumer wants and needs while offering unique approaches and value-added embellishments that make you stand out from your closest competitors. A go-to informational resource for all things content marketing related, the independent online media outlet the Content Marketing Institute suggests trying to describe your unique brand identity in three words. Whether they be “innovative,” “passionate,” and “hardworking” or “quirky,” “imaginative,” and “authentic,” choose words that identify the essence of your company and its particular goods and/or services. These overarching characteristics can prove extremely helpful when you apply them to your subsequent approaches to marketing strategy and consumer communications.

The specific elements of brand identity

As previously discussed, brand identity should drive all aspects of company outreach to existing and potential customers. This means that brand identity should be immediately evident in your verbal communications (from company name to ad copy), your visual communications (from company logo to product packaging), and your customer service communications (from staff interactions to courtesy emails).

Think about the ways in which brand identity can expand to all aspects of consumer psychological and emotional response. For example, the emblematic in-store scent of Abercrombie & Fitch and the dulcet vocal tones of Apple’s Siri each play an integral role in defining the unique brand identity of the companies that developed them.

The specific media channels through which a company chooses to propagate its branded messages must also reinforce its essential brand identity. Within the world of social media alone, a tremendous amount of diversity exists when it comes to the underlying philosophies and attitudes of individual sites and the types of users that they tend to attract. Just think about the vast intrinsic and perceived differences that exist between industry leaders such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Tumblr.

For more information

To learn more about the importance of brand identity development when it comes to projecting a cohesive and effective brand image and speaking in a cohesive and effective brand voice, contact a representative of Bigeye today. We’re a brand identity agency that offers both a solid history in proven marketing techniques and a progressive vision that embraces state-of-the-art innovation.

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Five Tools to Use for Perception Research

Effectively measure how customers perceive your brand by leveraging the power of these five essential perception research methods.

Like beauty, brand perception is most decidedly in the eye of the beholder. As Forbes Magazine succinctly puts it, “Brands are not just what they say they are. Brands are what consumers say they are. A brand’s true identity lies in its perception.”

No matter how carefully you have crafted your brand image, you cannot be sure how your target audience in actually perceiving that brand image. In reality, a great gulf may exist between your best intentions and the interpretations of those intentions by your existing and prospective customers.

Although the inner thoughts and emotional/logical responses of others will always remain something of a mystery, you can employ a variety of techniques to peer into the hearts and minds of your marketing audience. Of course, few business leaders have the time and expertise to engage in ongoing, high-quality, in-depth customer perception research, but any professional marketing agency worth its salt will certainly offer these indispensible services with a focus on the unique wants and needs of the companies that it serves.

Here are five tools that experienced and innovative marketers use to identify and measure brand perception. By leveraging the power of these tools, you can make sure that your company narratives and advertising messages successfully reinforce the brand image of your company that exists in the collective mind of your customer base.

1. Leverage the Data from Google Alerts

Imagine if you could hire someone to monitor worldwide Internet use 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, scanning for each and every mention of your company and its specific products/services. You could gain incredible insight into public thoughts and feelings regarding your brand by weighing positive mentions against negative mentions and examining the specific contexts that merit each of these mentions. Well, imagine no longer, because Google Alerts allows you to do just this for all activity on the search engine that is used by well over 90 percent of the global population. Simply enter your company name and other essentials in the Google Alert system, and you will receive an email alert whenever any of those keywords appear online.

2. Conduct Brand Perception Surveys

A great way to find out what your customers think about your brand is to simply ask them. And there is no better way to collect the thoughts of a broad swath of your customer base than to conduct a survey. From mass emails to your official website, there are many ways to distribute surveys to existing and prospective customers online. In light of the busy lives that your customers probably live, keep surveys short and consider offering some sort of incentive for completing them.

3. Organize Brand Focus Groups / Online Forums

Compared with surveys, both of these options offer opportunities to get more in-depth information from a far smaller sample of your customer/audience base. Good questions to ask in brand focus groups or online forums will be similar to those asked in effective surveys, but you can probably ask far more and follow up with secondary questions for further clarification. Consider questions such as “Why do you choose this brand over others?” and “What comes to mind when you hear this brand name?”

4. Monitor Social Media

It goes without saying that the best way to interact with customers today is through social media. According to the independent social media public relations news source Regan, 33 percent of consumers prefer to connect with a business through social media. Regan goes on to identify social media as a great place to get unbiased and unfiltered feedback on perceived brand image, citing research that has counted an average of 2.1 million negative mentions of brands among US social media users on a daily basis.

5. Monitor Online Reviews

Customer review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List are also great sources of unbiased and unfiltered brand perception feedback. By tracking reviews of your company and its products/services on an ongoing basis, you can get a more complete picture of the ways your target audience interprets your transmitted brand image.

Getting professional help

If you have questions about the supreme importance of consumer brand perception or are looking to secure expert perception research services, don’t hesitate to contact a marketing professional at Bigeye. We have the experience and forward-thinking vision necessary to make perception research work for you and your company.

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Business Naming Really Is a Science – Or Is It?

Although the business naming process is far from exact, you can develop a formula to find a name that can rocket your company to success and sustain ongoing growth.

Would a rose, by any other name, truly smell as sweet? Romeo may think so in regard to his fair Juliet, but in the business world, a name can truly make or break you.

First and foremost, let’s address the obvious: a good name cannot save a bad company. A clever or interesting name may attract some consumers to a particular company, but those consumers will not stick around when they encounter significant flaws in that company’s products and/or services. Furthermore, that once “clever/interesting” name will take on a whole new meaning in the marketplace as public opinion of the company begins to decline. 

So why is a company’s name so critical to success? The answer lies in the fact that a name is so easy to instantly love or hate. First impressions are incredibly important, and so are the ways in which a company’s name initially hits the ear and/or the eye.

Everybody automatically judges a name and, furthermore, feels qualified to do so. For this reason alone, investing in an effective name makes great business sense.

So what differentiates a good business name from a bad one? Investigating this question, The Atlantic contacted marketing executive and legendary brand naming expert Hayes Roth, who could offer no universal rules for landing on the ideal name, but presented the act of business naming as a protracted process that begins in strategy and ends in practical application.

As an example, Roth, the mastermind behind the brand name BlackBerry, stresses the importance of speaking with “a familiar voice.” He adhered to this principle by choosing all one-syllable words for BlackBerry’s line of smartphones (Bold, Curve Storm, etc.). From the iPad to the iPod, Apple’s mobile products also epitomize this concept by universally beginning with a lower-case “i.”

Forbes adds to this key tactic with several other general but imperative tips for effective company naming. Consider the following four tips carefully before embarking on the business naming process. 

1. Keep it simple and catchy.

Avoid overly long and hard-to-spell names. You want your name to be eminently “googleable.” Obviously, you want to avoid any boring names, but you can easily confuse and/or repel potential customers if you choose a name that is too strange or outlandish. As Forbes puts it, ”You want your employees to be able to say where they work without hesitation, and you want your name to resonate with your target audience.” Play close attention to the way your name sounds when it is spoken and looks when it is read!

2. Use a name that conveys strategic meaning.

Although meaningless names such as “Google” can certainly catch on, in general, the name of your company should clearly convey something that is meaningful, positive and associated with the type of business that you conduct. By developing a name that has recognizable meaning with direct ties to your company, you can also cut down significantly on branding costs.

3 Don’t pick a name that could be limiting as your business grows.

Today, few people are aware that the electronics chain Best Buy formerly did business as Sound of Music. That name worked perfectly well during the early years of the company, when it primarily sold home stereo equipment. But as the company gradually expanded to offer the diverse array of products that it offers today, the original chosen name of this multinational retail giant just made less and less sense. The moral of this story? Prevent the tremendous expense and dangerous pitfalls of a complete rebrand by avoiding company names that are narrow enough to cause future problems.

4. Conduct thorough Internet and trademark searches.

When you begin to favor a particular name, it’s time to check to see if it is already in use. Although businesses with the same or similar names can conduct business simultaneously in some cases, this arrangement will almost always create significant issues. After conducting a general Internet search, check USPTO.gov to see if you can get the name trademarked or service marked.

Getting Professional Help

In light of the incredible importance of an effective company name, wise companies will often seek the help of a quality marketing agency that provides professional business naming services. If you have questions about effective naming strategies, contact a skilled and knowledgeable marketing expert at Bigeye today.

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Software is Eating the World, and Healthcare is Next on the Menu

Healthcare and technology companies are quickly converging. Here’s what brands need to know about health and wellness marketing to take advantage.

A few years ago, tech visionary Marc Andreessen published a famous essay that asserted “software is eating the world.” Everywhere we look, companies are shaking off legacy or analog approaches in favor of software-driven innovations — and the healthcare industry is no exception. Tech and medicine are converging at a rapid rate, something that should be a dominant topic in any discussion of health and wellness marketing.

Why healthcare companies are tech companies

Not too long ago, healthcare was a reactive endeavor. People sought treatment when an acute medical issue arose and submitted to a perfunctory yearly physical examination.

Preventative medicine helped change that, as people began to seek more regular interactions with the healthcare system. Now, thanks to technology, consumers have become even more tightly integrated into the healthcare system.

Consider the case of Apple. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, recently said that he expects the company’s greatest contributions won’t come in the realm of communications or pure computing, but in healthcare.

The company’s Apple Watch is an example of a smart wearable device that can be used to gather real-time health data. That data can be analyzed by the watch owner or exported to the cloud and analyzed by a healthcare professional. Either way, it provides important bio-feedback that can be used to make much more informed healthcare treatment decisions.

The healthcare sector is an attractive opportunity for large tech firms such as Apple, as it represents about 18% of the total U.S. economy. Scrappy startups, too, are entering the space in force: Venture capitalists spent more than $20 billion backing healthcare plays in 2019.

How tech and medicine are converging

If you want to see some examples of tech and healthcare converging, 2019 provided no shortage. Here are a few of the most compelling trends that drew media attention in the last year:

  • Bringing ancillary healthcare to your doorstep: Digital-first companies are providing a range of complementary healthcare services. Warby Parker offers prescription eyeglasses, Curology offers personalized acne and skin care treatments, Smile Direct Club provides dental care and teeth whitening. All of these services are available without a visit to a doctor’s office.
  • Telemedicine: The Internet and mobile devices have freed us from the tyranny of proximity (although they’ve greatly increased the number of tedious conference calls we have to endure). This remote model has helped establish the field of telemedicine, where healthcare professionals can offer long-distance evaluations and consultations for both mental and physical health. For people in remote or rural areas without access to healthcare, this is often a huge benefit.
  • Biotech breakthroughs: Technology is helping to unlock extraordinary new advances in medicine. Surgeons are operating with robots, human genes are being edited to help fight disease, targeted and personalized medicine promises to help us create customized drugs to work on a single person with maximum efficacy, face transplants have been performed, and what was once a figment of our imagination is now possible and happening thanks to technology. It is now even possible to create human organs via 3D printing.

Is your health and wellness marketing agency up to the task?

Technology and medicine are converging at a dizzying rate, leading to advances that would have seemed more like science fiction just a decade ago. Yet few pharma marketing agencies or medical device marketing agencies are keeping pace.

At BIGEYE, we understand health and wellness marketing on a fundamental level. If other healthcare advertising agencies aren’t serving your needs, we urge you to contact us today.

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Know Your Audience with Persona Development

You may think that you already know your target marketing audience, but without persona development, you may be shooting in the dark.

It’s marketing 101: The first step to effective branding and advertising is knowing your audience. And there is no better way to fully understand your audience than a well-crafted buyer persona.

Forbes Magazine Councils Member and contributing writer Jon Simpson defines buyer personas as “semi-fictional characters that personify your ideal customer” and called them “imperative to having accurate audience insights.”

Many business leaders deem the development of buyer personas superfluous, overconfident in their natural ability to connect with existing and prospective customers. But without comprehensive and effective persona development, critical misjudgments can easily occur. And these misjudgments can make the ultimate difference between success and failure.

The benefits of persona development

It is essential for brand strategy experts and content marketers to draft and refine effective buyer personas. No matter how busy they happen to be and how anxious they are to get on to the content creation stages of marketing campaign development process, they absolutely must make time for this key preparatory measure.

Persona development gives direction and focus to all of your marketing efforts by providing a single audience template that everyone in your organization can use when developing overall marketing strategy and spearheading specific advertising efforts. As the independent content marketing resource Content Marketing Institute puts it, “Documenting your personas, even if done quickly, is key to keeping everybody focused on the same audience.”

Persona development is particularly useful for companies with multiple stakeholders and/or team members who hold decidedly different opinions when it comes to marketing and branding strategies. By determining buyer personas that epitomize target audiences as a whole, companies can not only structure a unified marketing vision, but make all narratives involving company brand and products/services far more compelling, memorable, and ultimately effective.

From your official website and social media pages to your traditional and digital advertising efforts, all elements of your marketing outreach can (and probably will be) refined and optimized to meet the specific wants and needs of your audience as you identify them. However, by creating clearly defined buyer personas ahead of time, you can avoid the tremendous amount of time and monetary expense that go hand in hand with major redesign and redevelopment.

How to develop an effective buyer persona

Although even a rudimentary buyer persona is better than no buyer persona at all, it goes without saying that putting more forethought and care into the persona development process will inevitably yield better results. For this reason, organizations that are serious about marketing and branding success typically employ the help of a specialized persona development agency when engaging in this process.

The Content Marketing Institute breaks the development of an effective buyer persona into five practical steps. Keep in mind that each of these steps is an involved process in and of itself, requiring significant data gathering and analysis using modalities that range from general market research to customer/prospective customer interviews and surveys.

Step 1: Visualize the ideal customer.

Through extensive research, analysis, and projection, develop a single fictional customer who represents your target audience as a whole. For optimum results, go far beyond basic demographics such as gender and income level to examine the details of this customer’s professional and personal life.

Step 2: Consider that customer’s applicable wants and needs.

What are the common objectives and responsibilities of your ideal customer? What obstacles might stand in his or her way?

Step 3: Characterize that customer’s role in relation to the purchase of products and/or services.

What form does your ideal customer’s buying process take? What questions is that customer likely to ask before making a purchase?

Step 4: Consider that customer’s communication preferences.

What media channels does your ideal customer use on a regular basis? Where does he or she go to get information?

Step 5: Marry your buyer persona insights to your strategic company goals.

A great way to do this is to craft one or more engagement scenarios that take buyer personas through various prospective consumer interactions with your company.

For more information

If you want to learn more about the benefits of persona development and/or get professional assistance with the persona development process, contact a skilled and knowledgeable representative of Bigeye today. If you are looking for a persona development agency with vision, we’d love to show you what we have to offer.

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