Segmentation is key for content marketing success nowadays, and as all your marketing messages need to speak to business pains, you need to ensure you develop your marketing personas so that you have a specific audience in mind and can show how you can resolve their business frustrations.

Making sure your content resonates with the people you want it to is the way to reach ‘social buyers’.

These are people who use online communities to make purchase decisions and consume research reports, social media and email newsletters, as well as more traditional channels such as event and print journals/magazines, on their buyer journey.

These people spend on average 6.5 hours a week consuming online content, so by profiling them correctly you could transform your marketing results.

Follow this three step guide to creating marketing personas to get the results you want. 

Step one: Put together a list of questions to ask yourself about your target customers

Old-style content marketing segmentation used to concentrate on things like age, location and income, but to be successful today, marketers need to go a bit deeper and ask questions that will reveal more valuable details, for example:

  • What is their job title?

  • What are their key business pains?

  • What is their motivation to buy?

  • Who do they look to for trusted information online?

  • Where are they in their buyer journey and what decision-making authority do they have?

There are more question ideas in this blog from HubSpot, while this article from MarketingProfs advocates asking your most engaged customers and prospects directly in order to get the low-down on what they really want - straight from the horse’s mouth. 

Step two: Collate the data you gather into a template for each marketing persona you identify 

According to Tribal Cafe Marketing, the data you gather will reveal traits and patterns that should enable you to create five clearly-defined personas to speak to.

By gathering the data together into templates you not only have easy-reference to what you need to say to the persona group you want to speak to, but you will also be able to see areas of crossover and where the messages and content you develop for one group can be adapted slightly to speak to another audience.

In this article from The Effective Marketer, there are several links to templates that you can download to get you started. Your business is unique though, so use these as a guide rather than set in stone, and develop them as you need to suit your process.  

Step three: Don’t go it alone. Persona development needs to be bigger than marketing

What you need to be sure of is that you are getting the right people involved in persona development. Sales and Account Management should play a big part in this process, as they are the ones that have conversations with the people you’re targeting.

Once you’ve got the right people on board, make sure you use the information you've gleaned from them in combination with the data you’ve already built up from your marketing campaigns.

Once you have developed your personas, you then need to use what you’ve learnt to guide the development of your content marketing strategy that will speak to them.


  1. Dig deeper with questions to uncover valuable details.

  2. Organise your treasure into templates.

  3. Ask Sales and Account management to help with the digging - they have the tools after all. 

Persona development is vital to building a lean, mean sales and marketing organisation. It helps to hone in on exactly what your prospects want, and how best to deliver that.

Sam Davies

Published 13 June, 2013 by Sam Davies

Sam Davies is a founder and director of Zoober Digital and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

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Comments (4)


Chuck Malcomson

Good advice. It may also be a good part of this exercise to think about what is going on in the personal life of these personas, what are their demographics, etc.

Any information you can flesh out in these personas will help more acutely target your messaging.

about 5 years ago


Brent Summers

This is a great recap of what to look for.

Some other things to consider when developing personas:
- Behavioral traits such as Browse or Search, or Mobile vs Desktop users
- Social networks they're likely to use

And finally, once you've crafted personas... sometimes it's helpful to prioritize and target just one or two. Honing down to the persona most likely to engage/share is a great way to increase quality of your campaign. And, with a bit of luck that increased quality yields tweets, likes, and shares that further spread your message to the outlying personas.

about 5 years ago


P ONeill

Over simplifying the process somewhat, good starting point though. Thanks :)

about 5 years ago

Sam Davies

Sam Davies, Director at samtdavies consultingSmall Business Multi-user

Thanks for your feedback - glad you found this interesting and useful. P O'Neill, you're right; there is a lot more to be said about marketing personas. Hopefully this works as a basic springboard.

about 5 years ago

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