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How to Create Ideal Customer Avatars

By Yuka Sakai on Aug 28, 2022

Every business wants their marketing dollars to be spent effectively and successfully. We are all looking for a high ROI (return on investment). If you want to optimize your marketing campaigns for success and make your marketing dollars count, you need to step back and build a foundation for your marketing. One of the first steps to do that is creating ideal customer avatars.

A customer avatar is a fictional representation of your ideal customer complete with personal details, desires, ambitions and challenges. Picturing this ideal customer persona helps you to hone your marketing messages to the customers you really want and build relationships with them. And it’s just a lot easier marketing to someone you can picture rather than a vague demographic.

The Importance of Data

Typically, you don’t sit down one day and just decide on the traits of your ideal customer avatar. Assuming your business isn’t brand new, you can use customer data you have collected to help you determine some of the traits of your ideal customer avatar. Though probably you already have a pretty good idea of the typical traits of your dream clients, the clients who give you the most business in the areas you most want to pursue.

In addition to analyzing your data, you may want to interview or survey your best customers to get more refined input while fashioning your customer avatar.

Demographics and Key Drivers

When developing customer avatars, some of the traits you want to consider are those that are most advantageous for your business. These might include a person who gives you big orders, who returns consistently to order again, who gives you referrals and who gives you good reviews and testimonials.

Then you want to think about typical personal traits of this person. These will include demographics such as business role, age, gender, location and so forth. But you must go much deeper than mere demographics. You must consider what drives that person to make a buying decision. Are they a middle manager who wants to look good to upper management? Are they a CFO who wants to cut costs?

It’s important that you get as detailed as possible when listing the traits of your customer avatar. It’s marketing gospel that the more specific you can be in marketing to someone, the more effective you will be. You will grab their attention. If you don’t really know what drives them, your marketing campaigns are going to be bland and unworthy of their notice. You want to get under the skin of your customers, whether they are B2B or B2C. What triggers their emotions? What pushes them to buy?

When you create a customer avatar, go beyond the obvious. Give them a name.  In addition to demographics, here are some possible factors to consider:

  • Your customer’s goals both for the company and for themselves
  • Their values. For example, if it’s a corporate customer, are they all about the money or are they very socially responsible?
  • What do they do in their spare time? What movies do they watch? Do they follow social media trends?
  • How do they keep informed about both world events and industry news?
  • What are the challenges they are facing that your product could solve? This is not going to be the same for all people. More on that in a moment.
  • What objections is this avatar likely to have to your product? A CEO may have different objections than a middle manager for example.
  • What is going to make your product just light up in the eyes of this particular avatar?

There are a lot of factors that can go into fashioning a customer avatar. You might have 15, you might have 25, you might have some other number depending what is important to your business. Once again, the more detailed the avatar is, the more effective it will be.

Once you have that clear picture in your mind of that customer, it becomes far easier to market to them than just “women who are in their 30’s” or “CFOs of businesses generating between $5 million and $25 million.”

The Wisdom of Using Customer Avatars

If you give this some thought, it only makes sense. Remember, people do not paSome businesses without strong marketing background may question whether they should finely focus on ideal customers rather than taking a shotgun approach and marketing to everyone. They are afraid of limiting themselves. They talk about the variety of types of customers they have.

But here’s the thing. The broader your marketing approach, the less likely you are to attract the attention of customers. In other words, if you try to appeal to everyone, you will markedly decrease your appeal to anyone.

Remember, customers don’t particularly care about your company. Whether B2C or B2B, they care about their desires and solutions to their problems and challenges.

If you can offer them something that fits neatly with their desires or challenges, you have their attention. If you are just talking about some generic product without talking about how it can help them, or if you are just spouting off about how great your company is, you will never break through the clutter of the 4,000 to 10,000 commercial messages people are exposed to each day. No, that’s not a typo. That’s what you’re up against. So, your messages better interest your audience.

Multiple Avatars

A customer avatar is not a description of a group of customers. It’s a personification of an ideal customer, a person. If you analyze your very best customers, some commonalities for the largest percentage of them will become apparent.

You may have different ideal customer avatars for different products and services. Or, if you are selling B2B, you may need to run a gauntlet of sales meetings and get approval from multiple people. You will need a customer avatar for each of those.

In other words, you may need to develop multiple avatars. If you are selling B2B and need to sell to various departments, you can create an avatar for the final decision makers and each of the influencers.

However, if you have multiple avatars, you should be limiting your messaging to just one of them for a particular marketing campaign. If you are selling enterprise software for example, maybe the CMO, the CFO and the CTO have to sign off on the purchase. But their concerns are not the same. Here is an overly simplistic example:

  • The CMO wants to make it easier to market and make sales.
  • The CFO wants to keep costs down.
  • The CTO is concerned with rolling the software out across the company without causing chaos.

One ad is not going to address the concerns of all three effectively. Sure, you can stuff a lot of messages into one ad, but if you want to optimize sales, you will market separately to your various customer avatars.

Example of a Customer Avatar

The level of detail of customer avatars may vary quite a bit, but here is one example:

Sarah is the 42 year old CMO of a niche B2B Silicon Valley software company that is a few years old and has profits of $25 million per year and growing. She wants her company to continue to grow and lead the market within the next two years.

She is concerned with ROI but is willing to spend money on technology to increase sales and support marketing at her company.

Sarah is ambitious and works a lot of hours. She would like the company to grow and go public, and she has stock dividends.

Though Sarah is concerned with profits, she feels it is important that corporations give back to their communities, and she is particularly concerned with the environment.

Sarah is loyal to both friends and colleagues, and when she finds a vendor she likes, she sticks with them.

Sarah has two children and enjoys French cooking and rock climbing in her limited time off.

Now this customer avatar represents a B2B customer, an executive at a tech company. A company that sells marketing technology might use such an avatar. But a dry cleaning business can just as easily form a customer avatar for their use.

Need Help with Marketing Strategy? Contact Umbrella Local

Before you begin marketing, you need a solid strategy. While you work on your business, bring in experts to put you on the right marketing path. Contact Umbrella Local for a free consultation.


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