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June 4, 2020

Persona Marketing

Personalization in marketing is one of the most frequently discussed best practices in recent years. Improvements in targeting and tracking technology make it easier than ever to reach the right person with the right message at the right time. Consequently, consumers now demand that the content they are served speak directly to them and their interests. They expect to see themselves, their values, and their community reflected in ads and direct relevant messages sent to their inboxes. Anything else is received with irritation or tuned out entirely.

So how do we elevate our digital marketing strategies to better target and speak to the most valuable audience segments? One solution is Persona Marketing, marketing to audience segments based on your ideal consumers. Creating Marketing or Buyer Personas involves understanding your target audiences: who and where they are and what their interests consist of and online behaviors.


Mistakes to Avoid:

  • Targeting only one primary audience not only leaves revenue on the table but also ignores the diversity of your fan base.
  • Human beings are much more complicated than their gender and age demographics. Focus more on psychographic details like commonalities, interests, and why these individuals attend events. 
  • Don’t expect your personas to engage or purchase in the same way. There is no one size fits all strategy to connecting with unique audience segments. Instead, actively plan to test and learn.


Personas In Action 

University of Arizona

blog_persona_arizona.jpgThe University of Arizona identified 5 Buyer Personas to focus on for the 2019 Football Season. This planning included identifying demographic details, as well as behaviors, objectives, pain points, and message ideas. Then throughout the Football season, Arizona served unique ads to the persona segments that would speak most directly to each group.

Stanford University

blog_persona_stanford.jpgWhen creating Marketing Personas, one great place to start is with a Google Audience Insight Report. In partnership with Google’s Live Events team, your Marketing Services Account Manager can pull a detailed report outlining a holistic understanding of your target audience based on behavior signals across Google Search, Google Display Network, and YouTube for the previous 30 days. This report allows you to better understand audiences based on their interests in topics and brands, their affinities, and shopping behaviors.

Stanford University has built campaigns around these Google Audience Segments to reach customers that they had never targeted before. One persona segment that stood out in 2019 is Female Foodies. Stanford created unique ads and messaging for this audience, and without spending much advertising budget ended up driving a $4.53 Return On Ad Spend from a group of fans that typically aren’t engaged.

University of Southern California

Utilizing valuable data from your 3rd Party Partners can be one of the most efficient ways to reach high intent audiences. Defining personas based on purchase behavior and then aggregating relevant data can elevate your marketing campaigns to the next level. From Flexible Last-Minute Buyers who rush to StubHub within 48 hours of an event to Social Experiential Buyers who engage on Fevo, the targeting potential is as vast as your data pool.

blog_persona_usc.jpgThe University of Southern California ran an innovative campaign targeting fans who had purchased Basketball-related Merchandise through Fanatics. Fans who had recently bought gear, but weren’t Season or Single Game purchasers, were served an ad with the following messaging “You Got The Gear… Now Grab The Tickets”. By identifying qualified fans, aggregating the appropriate data, and serving tailor-made messaging to this audience segment, USC was able to leverage their Fanatics partnership to drive incremental ticket revenue.

The Fabulous Fox Theatre

The same persona-based marketing strategies can be applied to Performing Arts & Arena campaigns as well. While the personas will vary from event to event rather than by sport, each concert or show is an opportunity to reach your audiences with unique targeting and messaging, even if creative assets are limited.

When Summer: The Donna Summer Musical premiered in St. Louis at The Fabulous Fox Theatre this Spring, the Fox targeted four main audience segments: Web Retargeting Audiences, Past Similar Show Purchasers, Broadway Prospecting, and Donna Summer Disco Prospecting. They were able to reach their traditional Broadway affinity audience, as well as serve unique messaging to non-traditional audiences who love the music of Donna Summer and Disco singers.


blog_author_leah.jpgPost by Leah Baumgartner, Digital Marketing Strategist, Paciolan