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persona development sketch

Successful businesses must understand their customer when attempting to attract new customers (read: marketing). Understanding who they are, where they are located, when they might be interested in you, and why they should care, will dictate when, where and how you market your products or services. In marketing, this process is commonly called persona development. Persona development identifies the target audience of your business, and should become the standard test for all marketing activities that you conduct. Typically, persona development includes several steps.

  • Demographics – name, gender, age, occupation, location, marital status, children, income, education, home value
  • Symptoms – Why do they need me now? What are the decision factors? What is the decision process?
  • Communications – What questions do they have? What is my goal in communication? What communication challenges will you face? What media do they consume and where?
  • Behavior – How do they process information? What are they concerned about in life? How do they consume? What else do they do? What will make them respond?

Let’s say you are a plumber and you want to provide information to prospective customers. It is important to know: Where do your “personas” go to do research? Why do they need a plumber? What are they concerned about at that time? Maybe 60% of my new business is people experiencing an emergency leak. These people are thinking, I need a fast and trustworthy plumber now. I am not going to do research, because I do not have time. I just need a telephone number. I don’t want to get ripped off, but awareness and time are the most important decision factors. In this scenario, a website might not be the first place taht I look, but a magnet stuck on the outside of the yellow pages or a sticker on the underside of the sink may be. The 24hr. emergency telephone number should be big. The color should denote trust and reliability. The design should be clean and simple. That is how a plumber would use persona development.

How to use this information: Take the time to analyze your current customer database. Try to understand not only where your new customers are coming from but also, why they are coming to you. Develop a profile of these people to understand them better. If this sounds like too much work, you can hire a marketing agency. You will increase your business and increase the effectiveness of your marketing.

Selecting a business name can be a daunting task if you do not employ some basic guidelines. This post will provide one set of basic guidelines that has the greatest utility to the largest number of businesses. It is by no means an absolute set of guidelines. In fact, there are so many dynamics involved it would be difficult if not impossible to establish guidelines for all businesses. Furthermore, money and time can establish a brand or produce meaning for any word.

logos brand company name

Which one these companies’ names had a definition before it was branded? (answer at bottom of this post)(all marks above trademarked or registered to respective parties)

Most of us do not have the budget to create such a word, so here is a marketing strategy to employ. Hopefully, you have developed a marketing plan or brand strategy that provides you brand themes and target personas. The business name must reinforce the brand themes and resonate with the brand personas. Here are some basic guidelines to consider, your name should (be):

  1. Easy to pronounce
  2. Easy to remember
  3. Easy to spell
  4. Quickly communicate what you do
  5. Free of trademark infringement
  6. Have a matching domain name available with a .com extension

I strongly suggest brainstorming the process with your employees and whoever was involved in developing your brand. You can start the process off by listing relevant keywords and adding synonyms. Ask your “personas” if this is who they would contact to address their needs. Role-playing can be fun and meaningful in this process. Have employees act as different personas and request their feedback on the proposed names.

Once you have named your business, you may want to select a tagline and a logo. It sounds like another brand strategy marketing post to me. Stay tuned!

Answer: Nike, Inc. Nike is the winged Greek goddess of victory. All of the other names now have definitions associated with their brand.

How to use this information: Developing a brand creates value for your business. Your name should reinforce the brand and speak to the personas. Ask someone who is not familiar with your business name, but is a high value target persona, what does (insert company name here) do and what would you expect your experience to be with this company? This will tell you if you are on track.


People Power - John BlackfordJupiterResearch recently released data revealing significant growth in corporate spending on business blogs. The CEO of SocialText and an Editor at Wired have initiated an index of Fortune 500 business blogs. “Rupert Murdoch is betting half a billion dollars that he can turn MySpace into a colossal marketing machine.” (Source: Wired Magazine July 2006 Cover Story)

As a strategic marketing professional, I can tell you that many small to mid-sized businesses are now considering strategies that include business blog marketing to:

  • supplement search engine optimization
  • generate real-time moderated content
  • influence product perceptions
  • conduct consumer research

Depending on their goals, various strategies are employed to optimize content for search engines, disseminate desired content and press release information, and to obtain favorable content and discussion about their products and services. Strategies affect both the presentation of the blog, the keywords and meta content that are used, quantity of links both within and outside their company. It is my belief that we are about to see overwhelming proliferation of business blogs. Business blogs are maintained by employees and in many cases moderated and optimized for search by third party services.

Welcome to the discussion! It’s my intention to present various marketing strategies, marketing resources and techniques to optimize one’s web presence. Please use this blog to present your ideas for discussion and comment and my views. Thanks and stay tuned!