Market Personas: Making Smarter Location-Based Decisions

Written by Whitney Snyder

Every business has customer bases with unique buyer personas. Buyer personas are descriptions of your ideal clients that allow you to align content, advertising, and communications throughout the buyer’s journey. 

However, while understanding your buyer personas is a great jumping-off point for marketing, we have recognized a process gap in making location-based marketing decisions. To fill this void, we broadened the scope of these personas to a community level, while keeping our love for purpose-driven thought at the forefront of our minds. This led to the development of market personas. Market personas serve as descriptions of your ideal markets that allow you to find your buyers and connect with them as a community for more purposeful location-based decisions.

Broadening Your Focus for Purpose-Driven Decisions

When businesses operate, they find fulfillment within multiple levels of purpose. They meet specific customer needs but also work towards a higher goal and mission. These greater reasons for why your organization exists can extend to your team, clients, communities — and even the world.

We use buyer personas to capture the client level of our purpose, highlighting the people we can serve best and work with to fulfill that foundational level. In this same manner, market personas should capture the community level of purpose. Using market personas to drive location-based marketing, you can guide your company’s decisions with your purpose steering the ship. 

Making Your Market Personas

When creating your market personas, it’s crucial to understand that they still relate to your buyer personas. Market personas allow you to view your business’s operations through a wider lens and provide a perspective of your audience that includes your buyers, not limited only to them. When creating market personas for ourselves, we identified some tips for keeping our focus broadened, including asking ourselves:

  • Can we replace the word “community” with “buyer?”
  • Is our research accounting for an entire community or only a subsection of it?
  • Are we effectively capturing our “why” beyond just what our offerings can do for our customers?

If you’re heavily debating the answers to these questions, you may be limiting the focus too narrowly. 

Our approach to identifying market personas involves a detailed analysis that uses objective data to capture our ideal markets while also internally reflecting upon our own “why” and how it fits into the many levels of a mission field. This process includes:

The Who

Understand the basic characteristics of your market persona. Use your buyer personas to build this into an accurate representation of their home. 

The Building Blocks

  • Background: This analysis will include delving into the industries, dominant business formats, household types, economic standing, current market saturation, and other background information of your ideal markets. 
  • Demographics: You’ll develop demographic markers that will help objectively identify locations that align with your market persona. This data should include the average age, population size, average household income, distinct faith distributions, and education levels in the community.
  • Identifiers: Establishing basic characteristics will also be useful for quickly screening which markets to evaluate further. These can include whether the community aligns with a more rural or urban setting and any significant identifiers or changes, either economic or social, that will set this persona apart.

The What

Identify the shared goals and challenges of the community, ensuring that they impact the whole community. The objectives of this community should directly align with the community level of your company’s purpose. 

The Building Blocks

  • Goals: You should clearly understand the objectives of the community as a whole. These goals shouldn’t be the same as those you identified for your buyer personas. Instead, these goals are collective goals of the entire community. Your business’s offerings should help support these goals through a bigger picture.  
  • Challenges: Now that you understand the community’s goals, what hinders them from achieving those goals? Are there any economic, cultural, systemic, technological, or social challenges to overcome?
  • What Can You Do: Evaluate how your market entry will help the community reach its collective purpose. This contribution should explain how your offerings will empower the residents to fulfill their goals and give them the tools to do so. This should also relate to how your business gives back to the communities you serve and any philanthropic initiatives you lead. 

The Why

Analyze why this community is a prime market for your company. How does the community view their home and perceive how you could fit into or alter their way of life?

The Building Blocks

  • Real Quotes: Find real quotes from residents sharing their experiences and struggles living in similar communities. Try to understand who this community represents and what’s important to them.
  • Community Objections: Understand possible objections the community could have about your business entry and how you could disrupt or change their lives.

The How

Spend some time here to understand how working with this community will help your organization fulfill your community level of purpose. By fully grasping the synergistic effect of your market entry for both yourself and the community, you can begin to describe how you can position your business to relate to the community as a whole. You will also be able to effectively communicate your value.

The Building Blocks

  • Marketing Message: Develop a messaging strategy that communicates how your market entry will help the community reach their collective goals and pacify their objections. This marketing message can help inform press releases, announcements, targeted ads, and other communications. 
  • Elevator Pitch: You can articulate your message into a neatly packaged, concise elevator pitch when you fully understand how your company will impact your market personas and how this engagement will fulfill your business’s purpose and theirs.  

Incorporating Your Market Personas into Your Business Strategy

Not only will market personas help your business push the needle with your purpose-driven initiatives, but they will also help fuel your bottom line. Developing market personas will help you find your buyers, guide your location-based marketing efforts, and provide another layer to your decision process for expanding your business. 

With these new personas, you’ll be able to find communities that attract your ideal buyer personas through a more objective approach. Your team is then equipped with a strategic method of identifying markets that capture your buyer personas to ensure a successful market entry. Using the data-driven and societal markers you identified in your market personas, you’ll be able to see which locations align with your strategy. Additionally, beyond finding a high concentration of your customer base, you can guide this research with your market personas to identify where you will be best received by the community when considering targeting specific locations with your marketing efforts.

Making Your Efforts Time Well Spent

This approach should reflect your community level of purpose and lead your business to find markets that will help you find fulfillment. You’ll be able to identify communities that align with your values, culture, and mission to succeed and be a part of their efforts to achieve collective goals.
Your business’s purpose and mission statements shouldn’t live only on your website and within company handbooks. These ambitions should be at the core of every decision and action. By building this mindfulness into your decision process, you can develop strong roots for your business’s growth. To help you and your organization find and grow with purpose, get in touch with our consulting and branding team at PHOS Creative.

Whitney Snyder

Whitney focuses on fostering meaningful relationships with clients while empowering them with imagination.