Unlocking Business Success: What is a Marketing Persona?

Jun 7, 2024

✍️ Author: Sinead O'Connor


A marketing persona helps a brand or person communicate effectively with their audience by acting as a representative character.


Just as fitness contains various practices that fall under the fitness umbrella, a marketing persona can highlight different aspects of a brand but should still stay true to the overall identity and values of the brand or person it represents.


The challenge in marketing today is that it can be hard to cut through the noise. Sidestepping this starts with knowing your target audience intimately and communicating with them in a way that resonates.


Table of Contents:

What are Personas in Marketing?

A positive emotional connection with a marketing persona moves an audience to listen and take action. When the audience feels a positive bond with the persona, they pay attention and respond positively.


The goal is to build such trust through resonant messaging that the target audience is ready and willing to take advice. Successful marketing personas feel like friends to their target audience, making people see them as relatable and trustworthy, not just as a brand.


Essential functions personas perform are:


  • Values – The persona should reflect and uphold the values that are important to its audience.
  • Difficulties – The persona should share stories and experiences the audience can relate to, especially challenges and pain points.
  • Needs – The persona should clearly understand and articulate what the audience needs.
  • Desires – The persona should convey how it understands the audience’s needs and desires and explain how it can help fulfill them.

Types of Marketing Personas

There are two types of marketing personas: the buyer and the user. The buyer persona won’t always be the person using your products, so the goals drafted for this persona should differ from those for the user. The user persona is the direct end-user of your products.


  • Buyer Persona: Cares about facts like price point, product value, and so on. 
  • User Persona: Cares about experience, whether it’s user-friendly, fast, and makes their day or life easier.

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How Persona-Based Marketing Benefits Your Business

Persona-based marketing is tailored marketing strategies geared towards specific customer segments. Their characteristics are shared traits, interests, and behaviors. By creating detailed customer personas, your business can make stronger connections with customers faster. 


This style of marketing helps address the unique needs and preferences of their customer groups to provide a better experience and improved business outcomes, such as: 


  • Greater Customer Understanding: Persona-based marketing enables your business to gain deeper insights into customers’ reasons for choosing a brand. 
  • More Customer Engagement: Tailored content and communication resonate with customers because they feel seen and heard by the businesses that take the time to understand them.
  • Unique Customer Experiences: Each persona has specific needs. These needs lead them down an individualized path for a positive experience. What works for someone interested in yoga won’t necessarily work for someone interested in weightlifting. 

How to Create Personas for Your Business

Thoughtful research goes into creating personas for your business. You should place yourself in their shoes and ask, “What does my business do to solve their problem?” When you have the answer, you’re ready to create.


Gather Detailed Information About Your Current Customers:

Go where your customers are. If they’re known for being on a specific message board or social site, see how they talk to each other and note what they talk about. This gives you firsthand information on what personas would resonate best with them. Ask the following questions, and the answers will inform you of the approach your business needs to adopt.


  • What motivated them to become a customer?
  • What are their goals?
  • How did they find you?
  • Where do they spend their time? (Digitally and physically) 

Sort Them Into Groups Based On Goals and Motivations

With this crucial information, you can strategically categorize your customers into personas instead of playing a guessing game, hoping a persona works. 


Think of it like a gym that specializes in weight lifting and the three kinds of people who attend:


  • Serious lifter persona: This person comes in religiously, eats right, and has focused workouts. They want to become more elite.
  • Average lifter persona: This person exercises for general well-being and welcomes things that improve that but doesn’t want to get too extreme.
  • Beginner lifter persona: This person can become overwhelmed with all the information regarding working out and would need a more guided marketing approach.

How Many Personas Should You Have?

Determining how many personas your business requires presents a challenge. There isn’t an exact number, but a typical number ranges from 3 to 8. Small businesses do well with 1-2, but major corporations benefit from as many as possible to meet the needs of their customers.


Create Profiles for Each Persona

There are many things to consider when creating profiles. For example, even though everyone eats, a business would be foolish to think that because everyone has the same eating habits or seeks the same experience. Everyone eats, but not everyone can eat shellfish, peanuts, or other allergens. Paying attention to the differences within commonalities sets your business apart from others. 


  • Demographics: Age, gender, location, income level, education level, and occupation.‍
  • Psychographics: Interests, hobbies, values, attitudes, and lifestyle.‍
  • Behavioral Traits: Shopping habits, brand preferences, product usage, and online behavior.‍
  • Needs and Challenges: The problems or issues your product or service can solve.‍
  • Goals and Motivations: Things they want to achieve, both professionally and personally.

Update Personas Overtime

Personas change every day. Failing to update your personas means you risk losing touch with your customers. If your persona used to love visiting your storefront but prefers shopping online now, it would be a mistake to maintain the storefront instead of building a website. Fluidity is key to keeping customer loyalty.

Practical Persona Applications

Once personas are built out, there are various ways to apply them to your strategy. This enhances the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and business performance. In the list below are primary use cases for personas in a wellness business:


  • Customer Journey Mapping: Personas help map the customer journey by providing valuable insights about the different stages customers go through. At each stage, pain points and opportunities for more impactful interaction are outlined.
  • Product Development: Customer personas directly influence product and service development. These personas inform how your businesses’ offerings solve customers’ needs and meet their preferences. The golden rule is: If they don’t want it, don’t make it.
  • Content Creation: Personas shape content marketing strategies. They guide the creation of blog posts, social media content, and email campaigns. This keeps the business in tune with what resonates most with their target audience.

Persona Mistakes to Avoid

Accurate and effective personas are crucial to a successful wellness business. Being accurate in their creation ensures marketing strategies are well-targeted and resonate with the intended audience. However, making mistakes or cutting corners in the creation process results in misguided strategies, wasted resources, and missed opportunities. These are a few mistakes to avoid:


  • Overgeneralization: Broad or vague profiles cause ineffective marketing strategies. The greater risk here is messaging and campaigns that not only lack resonance but offend the targeted personas.
  • Ignoring Data: Choosing assumptions or anecdotal information over solid data leads to inaccurate representations of your target audience. Ignoring this data means your personas won’t reflect customer behaviors, preferences, and needs but reflect what you think they need.
  • Outdated Personas: A lack of updates means your personas no longer reflect the current market or customer base. This is risky because it could render your marketing strategies irrelevant, as they lack information on new trends and shifts in customer behavior.

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Effective persona-based marketing fosters greater customer understanding, engagement, and unique experiences tailored to specific segments. It’s not just about knowing your audience but about building relationships that feel personal and trustworthy. 


As your business grows and evolves, so should your personas. Regularly updating and refining them ensures your marketing strategies remain relevant and successful, helping you cut through the noise and build lasting connections with your customers.


For more valuable content, visit the OfferingTree Blog for more small business marketing advice!

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