You may have come across the word "Persona" quite a bit lately. It has become a modern business buzz word and possibly already overused. However, a better exercise I've not found to help to identify a target market.
Essentially, a persona is a made-up character that represents a typical customer: an archetype if you will. It provides an in-depth character representation of a group and allows your marketing and messaging to flow, so you engage precisely with your target audience. Whether B2B or B2C this exercise is relevant. You don't market to an organisation; you market to an individual.
Six reasons to create personas
You may create one, two, ten, twenty, any number depending on your type of business. You would typically create one persona for each your target groups. However, I suggest you start off with one or two; you can add more later.
The exercise prompts you to capture the essence of the character. So use as much detail as you can, right down to where they typically shop. Seriously! These personas are living, breathing archetypes, and you need to get to know them.
You may want to think as well about creating a negative persona. These detail the characteristics of someone you do not want as a customer. And the point of the exercise is to sift the wheat from the chaff and concentrate funds and resources only on profitable customers.
You can use a variety of methods to map out and create your personas. Have a study of your customer database - what characteristics jump out? Talk to a few of your clients and glean information from what they tell you. Most importantly, use your gut feel - your intuition can reveal a lot.
Finally, I've provided here a free template to guide you through the process. You may find it beneficial to include a picture, a portrait of your perfect persona. Perhaps someone you know or a fictional character, an A lister maybe or a cartoon character. The visual element adds weight and cements the personality in your mind.