Going Mobile? Throw Away Those Personas

Posted on in Blog

Intent beats identity. Immediacy trumps loyalty.”

This is Debbie.








She’s in her mid 60s,  a mother of two (boy and girl), with four grandchildren. She’s an aging business executive with ABC Corp. She’s worried about things like pollution and the current state of our education system, but she placates those fears by watching FOX News every night before bed.

Don’t misunderstand my intent—I realize personas can be helpful and I know they’re not going away anytime soon. They’re versatile: A healthcare company may use Debbie and her propensity for worry combined with her emotional attachment to her children and grandchildren to market their latest methods for stress relief and women’s health. A retailer might use Debbie’s conservative roots to deliver a catalogue on this year’s best pants suits.

The problem is: She’s a complete figment of our marketing-minds’ collective imaginations. While plenty of time and thought may have gone into creating Debbie, there’s plenty of room for error—especially in our mobile marketing efforts.

Why? Because—according to Google—

Marketers who try to reach their audience solely on demographics risk missing more than 70% of potential mobile shoppers.

It’s been a while since I was in a high school classroom, but if I remember correctly, being 30% right still constituted a big fat “F”, even with a generous curve.

If we can’t rely on demographics—what do we rely on?

Let’s go back to Google’s Mico-Moments playbook. It’s available for free here.

Micro-moments are “critical touch points within today’s consumer journey, and when added together, they ultimately determine how that journey ends.”

With the increasing shift to mobile, Google (and by association, us as well) believe mico-moments are the new battlefield for brands competing with each other for consumer attention. We can’t simply rely on demographics to help us win those moments because, as the first linked-to article above indicates, we’re missing a major chunk of the audience. Consider their video game example:

Only 31% of mobile searchers for video games were men between 18 and 34—who were the other 69%?

Granted, this is a broad example—we don’t know what people were searching for (were they looking to buy or was it more informational, seeking a walkthrough, for example; or maybe it was information seeking and the users were reading reviews to see which game to buy or which game might be suitable for the intended end-user). It’s still demonstrative of the point that we can’t rely on audience demographics as heavily as we used to.

So, in the spirit of this new year—make it a resolution. You don’t have to throw those personas away—but you should at least begin considering micro-moments and consumer intent as you plan your marketing strategies now and in the future. And if that seems hard or daunting, well—obviously we can help. Get in touch.

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