We have shared a lot of advice lately about marketing personas, and specifically how we use them to get to know more about our best customers, and how the insights we gain from them affect online marketing messages.
Additionally, we’ve shown how you can create your own persona to effectively convey your competitive strengths to others. But, we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that marketing personas have one other use, one that’s a little bit sinister and a whole lot effective: You can use them to think about your competitors differently.
Why would you create entire marketing personas for your competitors?
That’s easy – when you know who they really are, from a customer’s perspective, you can more easily identify the advantages you have over them. Even more importantly, you can do a better job of showing buyers what those differences look like.
As you put together a marketing persona for your competition, here are a few things to keep in mind:
What sort of marketing language and style do you associate with each competitor?
Begin with the basics, especially around things like marketing taglines and logos. What sort of message or flavor do these items convey to buyers, and how effective do you feel like they are? By getting to know a competitor’s language and style, you start to gain a sense of the impression they really want to create.
As you begin to think about this question, you might start to spot overall trends in their branding or marketing plan. Be sure to include these in your notes as part of your persona.
What kind of personality do they present to buyers?
Although personality is related to style and language, it’s expressed in a different way. One question we like to ask new clients is: “If your company were a character in a movie, what would that character look and act like?” The same applies to your competitors – what kind of role do they really play or fill?
An important thing to note here is that two businesses that are in the same industry, and even direct competitors, can have vastly different personalities. Those are important because some will resonate with certain customers better than others.
What do they really want others to think about them?
From a branding standpoint, most businesses have impressions that they really want to create. In other words, they have an image that they are trying hard to cultivate and maintain. Some are better at this than others, but you want to go beyond the obvious public opinions and look for the effect they want to create with all of their marketing.
Additionally, take a moment to think about whether this image is actually accurate, or if it is in line with the way customers and competitors tend to see the business.
What differences or weaknesses are important to highlight?
Obviously, this is the key point of the exercise. Once you feel like you know your competitor’s marketing persona inside and out, you can start to look for holes or at least differences, that can be useful in your own marketing efforts. Even if they aren’t going to be addressed directly, being aware of them lets you choose which part of your own marketing persona to accentuate, or to be aware of overlapping impressions and/or pitfalls.
Although you don’t need to pay as much attention to your competitors’ personas as you do the ones for your customers or the one you put together for your own company for that matter, it’s worth the time and effort spent arranging your thoughts and impressions. After all, the more you know about the businesses you’re up against, the better job you can do conveying your strengths to buyers when it matters most.
To see how we use conventional and unconventional online marketing tactics in a smarter way, contact Kayak today and request a free consultation.