What is a customer avatar?
It’s a profile of your ideal client or clients. Who do you want to dine in your restaurant or shop at your hardware store? Who would become wrapped up in your new app? Taking time to imagine these people – who they are, what they worry about, what they desire – is how you create a successful marketing campaign. It also ensures you’ve targeted the best audience for your brand. Let’s look at two separate avatars to show you what I mean.
Meet my imaginary friend Hannah, a sixty-year old retired teacher.
By the time she reached retirement, Hannah was earning an annual income of $55k. She and her husband invested in stocks and bonds over the course of their marriage, and they each have retirement benefits. They’d planned ahead for their leisure years, putting aside a healthy nest egg. They’d imagined spending their retirement traveling, but they’re not sure that’s a good idea now. Despite their financial prudence, Hannah is still concerned about their security.
Now, meet Mary, Hannah’s daughter.
She graduated from college with a degree in Education like her mom. Now, at thirty-two years old, she’s had three different jobs. Currently, she’s working as an office manager, earning $34k annually. She doesn’t intend to stay in her present job any longer than necessary, but she’s not sure that she wants to teach anymore either. She has a student loan to pay, and she doesn’t want to turn to her parents for financial aid. She’s worried about money and about her future, but despite her fears, she feels optimistic. She’s even toying with the idea of starting her own business.
What we can learn from Hannah and Mary
Hannah and Mary are joined by genetics and by shared values. They’ve been drawn to the same careers, and they have some of the same concerns that we all have: security being high on the list. However, it would be a mistake to assume that the two women will be won over by identical marketing strategies.
Each grew up in a unique era of American history. Each is part of a distinct generation with different perspectives on the world and current events, different spending and saving habits, different expectations. Likewise, individuals within a generation are influenced by their socio-economic status, their geographies, and other factors, and these factors impact how particular members of the cohort behave and respond to brands and businesses.
So many times, business owners tell me they want to market to everyone. They don’t have an ideal client or customer. This is a recipe for generic marketing, and generic is not what you want for your business brand.
You’ve got one soon-to-be customer out there right now who you would clone if you could. You would love going to work every day if you had a queue of those clones lined up outside your storefront. This is the client you should be talking to. This is the client you should be spending your money on and basing your marketing around.
That’s where customer avatars prove invaluable. By imagining particular individuals, you can extrapolate a more focused audience to target with your marketing strategy. Once you know exactly who you’re talking to, you can identify their pain and speak to it. You can design a journey that meets their needs. You can show them how you solve their problems and create lifelong relationships. A limited audience and a more customized marketing approach will inevitably lead to better results than blanket appeals.
This is particularly true of smaller businesses.
While large corporations may be able to sink millions into campaigns, less moneyed brands need to make every penny count. Flops are unacceptable losses. Defining and understanding a focused segment of the population – specifically, the segment who will want what you’re offering – ensures that the money spent on marketing is worthwhile.