Building an Effective Marketing Avatar
By Richard Parkin
What does your ideal customer look like? It’s a question no business can really afford to overlook. No matter what sector you’re in, there’s almost certainly some demographic that responds better to your marketing.
In some cases, those demographics are more or less obvious – expect health-focused foods to perform better for middle-aged women, for instance.
It’s not always that obvious, however. Some connections are ambiguous or can be entirely unexpected. I’ve seen products sell 2-3 times more per capita in Ohio than in any other state, without an obvious explanation.
To better understand the various factors leading to a conversion, an increasing number of marketers are using a creation called a Marketing Avatar. This is a fictional character designed to represent your typical customer, this Avatar is used to ensure that all marketing material actively interests potential buyers.
Wondering how customers will react to a new piece of content or a new strategy? Not sure what to focus on in an email? Think about how the marketing Avatar would respond – in many ways, it’s kind of like an evolved version of a focus group.
By establishing several effective marketing avatars, you’ll be able to better understand your customers – what they want, why they’re interested in your products or services, and most importantly what you can do to better appeal to them.
How to Build a Useful Marketing Avatar
How can you get started on building a marketing Avatar and when should you start?
If your business is already established, step one is heading to Google Analytics (or any other analytics platform you use). Look into the demographic data provided, pulling out high-converting segments. Make sure that you’re seeing enough data to actually draw conclusions. Remember that analytics platforms always approximate demographic data.
For those just starting out with sales, the process is a bit more complicated. You’ll need to approximate the Avatars that your competitors appeal to, while still establishing your brand as a distinct, unique seller.
Once you’ve collected or approximated the demographic data, it’s time to think about what actually drives your Avatar. What are they interested in doing, and which of their needs does your product or service fulfil?
If, for instance, you sell food boxes, and notice that you perform particularly well for those in high income brackets, your buyers are likely to be interested in the convenience that your products offer. Emphasizing this in your Avatar-led marketing should help you take your sales even further.
Similarly, if you achieve an above-expected level of conversions from younger users, aiming your marketing strategy towards them (using social media ads, for instance), is likely to produce great results.
Beyond that, consider the questions that your Avatar is likely to ask – are you making the answers clear enough? Is your site laid out in a way that suits your Avatar, highlighting the features they’re most interested in?
Refining Your Marketing Avatar
Of course, the real world is always at least a little different from our predictions. Marketing Avatars need to evolve in response to real-world facts. If your audience doesn’t react positively to the new approach you’re taking, consider whether you’ve misunderstood how your audience feels about the products and services you offer.
Reaching out to actual customers is an effective way to develop your marketing Avatar, though it’s almost always going to be limited to actual converters. See if your surveys confirm the assumptions that you’ve made when creating your Avatars, reworking them if you find important variables.
It’s also worth talking to your customer service staff, as they’re interacting with your customers on a regular basis, they’ll have a clearer understanding of whether the Avatars you create match up to the real facts.
One of the things I generally do is take and listen to customer support calls before creating an Avatar. You can learn so much by simply talking to your customers, making your Avatar more realistic – and more effective.