Developing marketing personas with AI
As a key element of marketing involves crafting the right message for the right person at the right time, understanding the make-up of the audience is incredibly useful. While each of us is unique, there are certain common traits we share that influence our behavior, such as upbringing, current job status, recreational interests, the list goes on…
Honing in on these traits helps us create meaningful market segments with specific attributes, and targeting these can create marketing campaigns that make a more immediate connection to each segment than going broad. For instance, you may have a specific message that resonates with young professionals and a different one for those folks later in their career - all for the same product. How do you do this? A key way involves the creation of marketing personas: semi-fictional representations of ideal customers, based on market research and real data about existing customers.
There are many advantages to developing personas, such as improved targeting and messaging that can relate to customers on a personal level. You can also provide a better customer experience and feedback to product development to help guide feature sets, design choices, and even entire business strategies. By having a clear picture of your target persona, you can also develop key performance indicators (KPIs) that are closely aligned with your audience’s behaviors and preferences, making it easier to pinpoint which marketing efforts work best.
Building marketing personas with Generative AI
When it comes to building personas for a marketing brand or campaign, this has traditionally been done using a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods, including surveys, interviews, focus groups, and data analytics. As an example, interviewing customers with the empathy mapping technique can help build out personas. However, recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have made it easier to create ‘simulated’ personas that can bolster these other techniques - filling in gaps and providing validation.
Let’s run through an example using ChatGPT, but note you can use other text-based Generative AI systems in much the same way. If we’re developing a marketing campaign for a new brand of organic soap and want to use marketing personas to better understand our audience, we can use a prompt such as “I need marketing personas for customers of organic soap”. Here are the results:
Persona 1: “Health-Conscious Hannah”
Occupation: Health and wellness coach, yoga instructor, or similar
Income: $50,000 - $80,000 per year
- Concerns about chemicals and artificial additives in personal care products
- Seeking high-quality products that align with her wellness lifestyle
- Looking for eco-friendly packaging options
Goals and Aspirations:
- To lead a healthy, toxin-free lifestyle
- To set an example for her community or clients
- To reduce her carbon footprint
- Social media (especially Instagram)
- Wellness blogs
- Online forums and communities related to health and wellness
Persona 2: “Eco-Friendly Ethan”
Location: Urban or suburban
Occupation: Freelancer, tech industry, NGO worker
Income: $30,000 - $60,000 per year
- Concerned about environmental degradation
- Looking for cruelty-free and vegan options
- Has skin sensitivity issues
Goals and Aspirations:
- To adopt a sustainable lifestyle
- To make ethical consumer choices
- To support businesses that are transparent about their sourcing and production processes
- Podcasts on sustainability or ethical consumption
Persona 3: “Mindful Millie”
Location: College town or urban area
Occupation: Student, part-time job or internship
Income: $10,000 - $30,000 per year (mostly disposable)
- Limited budget
- Looking for authentic brands
- Desire for uniqueness, doesn’t want mass-produced items
Goals and Aspirations:
- To stand out and express individuality
- To make purchases that reflect personal values
- To engage with brands that align with social causes
- YouTube influencers focused on lifestyle and sustainability
You can see the personas have detailed breakdown around location, salary, pain points, goals, and even which channels would be most useful to reach them. Another thing to notice is that the system provides good variation across the personas in areas like jobs (going from student to professional) and location. This can be useful for segmentation purposes where you have customers that could all have use for the same product, but how you reach them can vary.
You should use these personas as a starting point or guide, rather than the ultimate basis for a marketing campaign. They can be fleshed out further with additional research, such as customer interviews or surveys.
Once your marketing campaign is running, you may also develop more refined personas. For instance, if you run a social media campaign for the organic soap example targeting the age range 18-25 (Mindful Millie), you could test marketing messaging around the hand-made unique quality of the soap, versus the price. Based on the results of the campaign, you may discover that price is less important to Millie than uniqueness and update the personas based on this knowledge.
Using Generative AI to develop marketing personas can be incredibly useful as you construct your marketing strategy. This in turn can open up new potential for your marketing campaigns and execution, and find ways to stand out from the competition.