This article is part 2 in a series on connecting brand to your communities. Last time, we looked at affiliate marketing through the lens of community engagement for your brand. Today we’ll cover targeting your advertisements as a way of finding your community.
Customer Personas, Upgraded
The first question we need to answer is: Who are your customers – that is – who exactly is the community your brand wants to connect with?
Most entrepreneurs are familiar with customers personas at a basic level. Most people know them as descriptions of your target customer, including basic demographics (age, sex/gender, geographical location, education level, job title, income, etc.). What if we take a step further?
There are at least two kinds of customers – the ones you have and the ones you want.
The second is the domain of brand growth. If you are a rebranding your company, restructuring your offer, introducing a new product line or series of products – you are in the realm of brand growth. In reality, your brand should always be growing, and attempting to reach more and more of your target community. In this view, a target customer is always an aspiration, something to grow into – a potential or possibility. In other words, yesterday’s customer is not the challenge, you probably already know who you easily connect with – the real way to grow your brand is to find tomorrow’s customer.
So what is a customer persona really? A window into the mind and heart of a real human being you long to serve.
As we discussed in a previous post – a customer is a character in your brand’s story. And characters have an inner life, including:
- What they want
- What they need (underneath the want)
- What they fear most
- What their biggest dreams and aspirations are
- Their sensory world: What they see, hear, smell, taste, feel on a daily basis
- Who they listen to and respect
- How they behave under stress, comfort
- What persistent thoughts run through their mind
Essentially, a real customer persona, is an inner map of your customer’s experience. Doing this well requires creativity and empathy.
Ad Targeting and Experience Management is Your Brand’s Compass
Now that you have your goal in mind – you know your ideal customer, you have a clear and detailed picture of WHO your community really is, you have your map and you can set out on your quest. The search is on!
But what’s the best way to go about it? You need a powerful and accurate compass.
That’s where a data-driven targeting system – like our Adtarg system – comes into play.
With sophisticated targeted and customer experience management, you can find the most accurate and accessible method through comparative analysis of different business stages and affinity groups to optimize your reach. A good market listening system – like the eye and ears of your brand – monitors social channels in real time, tracks every mention of your brand, delivering valuable insights into how customers feel about your products and services, what their pain points are and what they would like to see in the future. It also allows you to track your competitors and trending content, giving you a comprehensive view of the market landscape, and allowing you to make smarter, data-driven decisions that will have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Enhancing your powerful brand storytelling, with things like Multi-Dimensional User Profiles, Group Segmentation Analysis, Market Material Recommendation, and Professional Diagnostic Reports, adds precision and accuracy to your quest. In other words, your brand story stays intact, and reaches the ears of people who want to hear it.
Summary: 3 Best Practices for Finding Your Brand Community
Now that we have combined deep psychological insights with sophisticated technology, a few pointers to take with you:
1. Make Time to Empathize with Your Customers
Spend time in this step. It’s important to really get into the world, mind, and heart of your ideal customers. This formulation stage will ensure you either have a clear navigational pathway ahead of you – clear waters and smooth sailing – or whether you set out into the dark forest, leading to frustration and confusion. Budget the time to do this first step justice.
2. Targeting is a Creative Art
View targeting and customer personas as creative process. Any good creative process is free from judgements, and even the wildest ideas can be entertained and lead to gold. Allow yourself to be surprised. Start from a place not knowing. Give up your assumptions and really get into the world of the customer. Most important to any creative endeavor: Have fun with it!
3. Left and Right Brain – Combine Art with Data + Science
Remember, even the most sophisticated technologies – AI based targeting systems included – need to be pointed in the right direction – towards your brand’s aspirations, your true ideal community. This is a creative act. Only you as the brand leader can determine where to point your vessel. When you are ready to begin your search, then good technology becomes crucial.
I mean, would you rather set out in a wooden sailboat on the wide ocean finding your way through the dark for months, or would you rather be in the Starship Enterprise, with its sophisticated and precise navigational control at the click of button?
Art and science together make for a powerful brand.
Of course, being a creative act, it’s always valuable to have someone guide you through the process.