With today’s social media and digital tools, it is all too easy to dive into tweeting, posting, creating websites and advertising your choir without stopping to ask yourself a simple question. “Who is this all aimed at, and why?” You need to understand your target audience first.
In my previous post “Does Your Choir Need Marketing?” I discussed the “Why” and said you need to set a measurable objective, for example, to recruit a particular number of new choristers or attract a certain sized audience to your next concert. This will help you understand whether what you are doing is working.
However, before you can create marketing material that will actually work, you also need to clarify who it is you are targeting with your messages. Without a detailed answer to that question, how can you hope to create promotional messages that will appeal to the sort of person you are looking to attract? How can you know where to put those messages so that they see them? And how do you know what to say to get them to act on the messages? You answer the question by creating a ‘Buyer Persona’ for your target audience.
Use a Buyer Persona to describe your target audience
‘Buyer Persona’ is just a term marketers use to describe how you define your target audience or ‘customer’. If you are looking to attract audiences to a concert then ‘customer’ means an audience member, and if you are looking to recruit choir members ‘customer’ means your ideal chorister. A Persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer and includes relevant information on demographics, lifestyle, likes and dislikes, behaviour and personality. It is based on a combination of real data and some speculation. You will more than likely create a number of Personas over time and for different campaigns But I would recommend limiting the number to 2 or 3 at most because trying to market to multiple audiences is prone to failure.
As well as helping you to create more compelling marketing messages, describing your Buyer Persona will also help you build a better ‘Product’. For example, your choice of music, venue or time of day for the concert and rehearsals. We will cover this in more detail in a future post about building your value proposition.
What do you need to know about your target audience?
There are no hard and fast rules about what to include in your Personas. I would recommend that you focus on anything that might influence the individual’s desire to, for example, come to your concert or become a new choir member. In the “toolbox” below I have provided a downloadable sample template that you can use, but basically the sort of information you should consider identifying is:
- Name – this might seem a bit silly, but if you give the Persona a name then it makes it easier to discuss with others, and you can often make the name amusing and/or descriptive. This is useful if you have multiple Personas defined.
- Image – for the same reason as naming the Persona, using an image or photo to represent your ideal customers will help your identification with them.
- Location – obviously will impact ability to get to a concert or rehearsals
- Gender – important for choristers if you run a male voice choir, but also may impact music choices, for example.
- Age – this will undoubtedly impact how and where you communicate your messages, but it will also influence music choices, venues and days/times that you perform or rehearse.
- Family Situation – influences preferences for days/times/venues
- Financial Situation – could impact ability to pay for concert ticket or choir membership fees
- Background – education, career, job status could influence musical preferences and availability.
- Values and Beliefs – can influence the style and content of your marketing messages. Also impacts the core values of your choir, for example around raising money for charity.
- Hobbies and Interests – what else do they do for pleasure, and what does that mean for their availability and involvement?
- Aspirations and Fears – what are they wanting to get out of joining your choir or coming to a concert?
- Likes and Dislikes – can influence everything about your product and messaging.
- Brand Associations – the consumer brands that they identify with may provide clues on how to message to them.
- Media consumption – what and where do they get information, entertainment and influences will influence where you promote your marketing messages.
- Social Media channels – which, if any, do they use, and how much will also guide where you promote your messages.
- Entertainment preferences – what do they like doing, what music do they prefer?
How do you gather the information?
The first and most useful source of data to use in your Buyer Persona are your existing choristers and/or audiences. There are a few ways that you can collect this information, and your choice will depend on what you are most comfortable with and able to do. I would suggest using a variety of mechanisms to get a complete picture of your ‘customers’:
- Just ask – talk to them at rehearsal, at concerts. As well as factual data, you can easily get good information about what they liked or disliked.
- Interview – a more structured version of the ‘just ask’ approach will help with an initial creation of your Personas. Use your Persona template as a guide to the questions to ask.
- Online survey – the use of free tools like Survey Monkey (see the ‘Toolbox’ below for links) enables you to ask, gather answers, and analyse responses. You can even make the surveys anonymous so that responders can be totally honest, without fear of hurting your feelings. If you have an email list of followers, supporters, choristers (and if you haven’t, you should have – see a future post about email marketing) then this is an ideal mechanism to get data from a larger set of people. By way of example – take a look at the results of a survey my choir carried out of our audience here.
It’s not a once only task
You should aim to continually improve and update your knowledge about your target audience and customers, rather than trying to get the perfect answer as a one-off exercise. Try implementing a continuous programme of interviewing a few audience members after each concert. Provide regular opportunities for choir members to say what they like, and dislike, about the choir. This way you can evolve your messaging and your ‘offer’ as time goes on.