Max Reinhardt
By Max Reinhardt on August 05, 2020
5 minute read

Which Persona Should You Target First?

After you've built your buyer personas and are eager to start unveiling powerful content to them, it can be challenging to determine which persona you should target first. It can be particularly difficult if you've developed multiple personas based on a variety of ideal customers. The key is determining which persona is the most valuable starting point. You can prioritize your personas in a variety of ways and yield optimal results from your marketing efforts.

Is It Typical to Have Multiple Personas?

Some smaller businesses may pursue just one type of customer, depending on what they offer. On the other hand, many businesses offer a wide range of products or services that are geared toward different types of people. Other companies may also have customizable products or services that people can modify based on their specific wants and needs. In any case, having multiple personas based on each type of target audience can help ensure that your business accounts for everyone who might be interested in what you have to offer. The more you can empathize with people through personas, the better you'll understand your audience.

For example, a business may find that the persona Developer David represents a particular kind of customer who has certain expectations and pain points that are specific to developers in his demographic, while another persona, HR Helen, has other needs and a different lifestyle that warrant the use of a different campaign. No two personas are exactly alike just as no two customers are the same, so building out multiple personas can help build campaigns that truly speak to each customer. The answer to which buyer persona to target initially is hidden in the data collected about each target customer. 

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Can Personas Share a Campaign?

You may find that two or more personas you've developed share certain similarities, with common needs that you can address with the same content pieces using the same mediums. Determining which personas can share content can help you save both time and resources, enabling you to avoid creating separate content and using different channels when it's unnecessary. If it makes sense to use one campaign to target multiple personas, this can be a good practice, but don't force it simply to save time.

Taking any shortcuts for the sake of taking shortcuts can do more damage than good, as taking the time to make slight tweaks to one campaign for another persona could mean the difference between gaining and losing that target customer.

Group of young people planning personas and campaigns

Why You Should Avoid Running Campaigns for Multiple Personas Simultaneously

You might be eager to launch several campaigns at once across multiple personas to maximize outreach. Realistically, though, this practice can put some strain on your marketing and sales teams as they become overwhelmed with the logistics associated with launching and promoting content campaigns. You may also begin to lose track of each campaign as you struggle to maintain an equal focus on all of them at once, which can hinder overall performance. Put simply, targeting multiple personas at the same time can very quickly zap your resources and become a bloated process to manage.

It's often best to strategically begin with one persona, as each team devotes their attention and resources to a single persona and can thus more uniformly handle a single campaign. 

What Are the Different Strategies for Persona Prioritization?

There are four main types of buyer personas that may be worth targeting first, depending on your specific goals and the resources available to you.

Highest-value Persona 

To start with, you can identify the persona that represents the most valuable target customer. Consider who will be most likely to bring repeat business and require the most from your products or services, in turn leading to higher profits. If you can figure out which persona will provide the most ROI, this could be the best one to spend your time and energy targeting. Think about what personas are most likely to make high-dollar value purchases, evangelize for your brand, or turn into repeat customers.  Pursuing the most valuable persona at the outset can also help make sure that you reap enough rewards from your efforts to allow you to effectively target your other personas.

 

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Re-engagement

Another strategy you can try is to pursue people who are already customers but have become disengaged from your business. This “low-hanging fruit” approach could be worth targeting if you can work to restore their interest in your brand. For example, you may launch an email campaign that encourages past customers to "come back to us" for a deal that they're likely to find appealing, or tout specific upgrade opportunities.

It can be especially easy to attract previously satisfied existing customers if your products warrant repeat purchases over one-time buys, such as products that require refills or upgrades to allow customers to keep using them.

Persona in a New Market

This approach is appropriate for brands that are committed to branching into new markets that have been identified as particularly fruitful. For example, you could be an artificial intelligence software producer who is expanding their reach from a primarily industrial customer-base into retail. You’ve identified a “Retail Rhonda” as persona that would be interested in installing AI-based products in their stores to monitor foot traffic. 

Targeting “Retail Rhonda” would not be a “low-hanging fruit approach.” You’d have to start from scratch to address the persona’s specific pain points in new awareness content, and then how you could solve them with Consideration and Decision-stage pieces. However, there’s a chance that this previously untapped market could develop into a cash cow for your business, it may be worth the initial delay getting started. 

Cheerful team deciding on their persona in a new market

The Persona for Which You've Already Built the Most Content

Another low-hanging fruit strategy to consider is pursuing personas for which you’ve already built some content. Although you may not have actually produced any content purposefully geared specifically toward a persona, you can conduct some research for a persona and follow it up with a content audit, which will help you determine how to use existing content in a targeted campaign. If you can recycle or modify the content you've already created, this will help save more time and energy that you can redirect to other areas that demand attention.

You would use this strategy if you’ve identified a strong base of blogs, webinars, case studies, videos, etc. already in place. The content audit would pinpoint the gaps to fill so you can launch a fully-developed campaign very quickly. 

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So, No Easy Answer? 

There’s no magic answer to what persona you should target first. The answer resides in the content of your research and with the passion of your team. The good news is, there is no wrong direction. Any persona target will initially succeed when done right.  Whatever route you choose, though, make sure every relevant team is on board, from Marketing to Sales, Customer Support to Leadership. Without the buy-in from all key stakeholders, even the most methodically chosen persona target runs a great chance of missing you. 

But armed with the decision-making strategies outlined above, you can analyze your business objectives through various lenses to conduct an opportunity-cost analysis. Considering the potential benefits and potential downsides of each option will provide your answer as to which of your shiny new buyer personas will turn into your next happy customers.

 

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Published by Max Reinhardt August 5, 2020
Max Reinhardt