"Target audience personas: Pinpoint & hit all the right targets"

The power of research-based personas

Who’s out there?

Where are they?

What do they need?

What do they want?

Who should you really be targeting?


Research-based personas — detailed, semi-fictional representations of your target customers based on qualitative and quantitative data — help you answer those questions and more. Carefully crafted personas help you target and reach the right people where they prefer to consume media and show them exactly what you’ve got to offer.

Casting the widest-possible net may seem ideal for reaching the largest audience/number of prospects and customers, but the number of people in that net who are actually interested in you, your products and/or your services may be miniscule. Wide nets tend to waste time, effort and resources on less-than-helpful results. Research-based personas, however, allow you to cast smaller, strategically placed nets that engage and inspire the right people in the right places.

Vendi’s research experts have created comprehensive research-based personas for numerous clients, including American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology, WinnMed, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Winona State University, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, ViaroHealth and others. These thorough, research-based personas ensure media, marketing and creative will represent and reach specific, key audiences.

The finer points of persona development

1. Ignore gut feelings

Innate gut feelings or assumptions about what people want or expect from your organization and offerings typically lead to generalizations and stereotypes. Rely instead on research-based personas that include demographic and psychographic details, behavior trends, values, desires, pain points, affiliations and more. Research-based personas will give you the most in-depth understanding of your market segments. That understanding can then inform relevant, meaningful messaging and strategies.

2. Research research research

Personas are built on qualitative and quantitative research. Not sure where to start? Call in the experts. Vendi has extensive in-house research capabilities that will help you build the strongest foundation for your personas. Vendi researchers craft, perform and report on qualitative and quantitative research that enables you to:

  • Gauge your target audiences’ awareness and perceptions of your products and services relative to your key competitors
  • Identify factors that influence audience members’ decision-making process
  • Reveal your points of differentiation and messaging hot buttons
  • Identify how attitudes, perceptions and needs differ by segment

Qualitative Research

Quantitative Research

Collects non-numerical data such as words, images and sounds through open-ended survey responses, interview transcripts and observational notes
Collects numerical or measurable data through numerical survey responses, test scores and website traffic data
Allows exploration of subjective thoughts, experiences, opinions and attitudes
Asks the same questions of a large, single group of survey recipients
Results in data that is not statistically valid
Results in data that is reliable and statistically valid
Helps formulate the research questions confirmed or denied in the quantitative phase
Returns the most useful results when lengthy, incentive-based surveys are sent to a large audience
May occur after quantitative research because a numerical survey reveals something requiring further exploration
Usually happens after qualitative research
Gives researchers direction that quantitative research confirms Happens most frequently at the onset of a research project Helps researchers understand consumers’ mindspace and challenges
Allows researchers to measure brand awareness and perceptions, confirm or deny insights from the qualitative phase with a degree of statistical validity, identify patterns and make predictions

3. Find answers through analysis

Compiled results require thorough analysis to reveal useful answers. Vendi’s experienced analysts combine an inquisitive mindset with practical methodologies and an ability to apply advanced statistics to answer critical marketing questions, properly segment your audience and provide actionable recommendations. Frequently used data analysis techniques include:

  • k-means cluster analysis, which groups respondents into audience segments based on how they resemble each other attitudinally (based on how strongly they agree or disagree with various statements) and how they respond to demographic and interest-based questions
  • Maximum differentiation analysis, an advanced technique that helps to accurately determine and rank attribute importance. This technique may also inform k-means cluster analysis.

4. Personify your audience segments

The audience segments defined through data analysis will serve as the basis for the representative personas. The exact characteristics of each persona will depend upon the information collected in the research. Oftentimes, personas will include a representative segment name and photo; demographic background details such as age, occupation, education level and family status; mindspace (goals, attitudes, needs and challenges); influencers and opportunities to engage the “person.” For ease of recall, you may also wish to give each persona a catchy segment name that incorporates a descriptive word or phrase, such as “Idealist,” “Pragmatist,” “Ready for Change,” “Newcomer” or “Trailblazer.”

Vendi personas help you sharpen your messaging, strategies and impact

Once you’ve brought your audience segments to life, your understanding of their current and future needs, motivations and goals will only grow. You’ll have the insights you need to consistently speak to and hit the right targets. The team at Vendi is ready to help and has vast experience in creating and using personas to:

  • Craft targeted creative content that’s meaningful and motivating for each audience segment, quickly and directly addressing why you are their smartest choice
  • Optimize marketing strategy to ensure the right audiences get the right messages at the right time and in the right places
  • Develop marketing communications and media plans that most efficiently and effectively intersect with audience segments
  • Inform the development of new products and services that may address customer wants, needs or challenges
  • Perform the most efficient, effective keyword research to ensure people find your content and that it ranks optimally in search engine results

In today’s information-saturated world, research-based personas are anything but a luxury. Prospects and customers need to know right away (and be reminded) why you’re the right choice for them. And increasingly savvy consumers want only the details that enable quick, easy, confident decisions. Research-based personas make all of this possible by informing targeted, practical approaches to marketing and advertising. Since 2004, the experts at Vendi have created and used research-based personas to help clients in numerous market verticals boost their impact and bottom line. Let us show you the proven power of personas.

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