from Marketing Memetics, by Michael Taylor
Imagine you’re advertising to wealthy British men aged 65+, married twice, who own sports cars and dogs, live in castles and enjoy holidaying in the alps. Armed with this niche user persona you can more easily imagine what ad creative is likely to resonate with your target customer. Grant this profile a fictional name – let’s call him ‘Alan’ – and we can better collaborate with your team by asking “what would Alan do?” and “how would Alan respond to this?”. If your demographic and behavioural targeting is accurate, you should expect anyone in your target audience to respond similarly to your ads. You may be surprised to learn the Prince of Darkness, Ozzy Osbourne and the Prince of Wales, Charles would both fall into this audience!
Personas can be a powerful and practical tool for synthesising user research into relatable archetypes. What most people get wrong is an over reliance on demographics. Marketers like to assert claims about Millenials in presentations, but there are 72 million Americans that were born between 1980 and 1996 and their membership in this group predicts no more than their horoscope. In studies Millenials, Gen X, Gen Z and Boomers have less group cohesion (a measure of like-mindedness) than ‘people who floss’, ‘daily nut eaters’ or ‘IT professionals’. Charles and Ozzy may share demographics, but it’s their ‘memes’ where they differ. Knowing Ozzy is a fan of heavy metal or that Charles loves fox hunting is more useful in creating an ad that works for them. Demographics have their place, but it’s memes that drive behavior.
Personas in Marketing Tweet
PUNCTURING THE PARADOX: GROUP COHESION AND THE GENERATIONAL MYTH
The origin of personas
There is no such thing as a millennial
Two princes, one advert, no winners: the programmatic problem