phone-iconAs a marketer it’s easy to get blinded by new and shiny objects, especially when it comes to mobile.

Your manager may read an article about NFC (Near Field Communication) or AR (Augmented Reality) and then ask you, “Why aren’t we doing this?”

Soon you find your team rushing to execute tactically something that wasn’t part of your strategy in the first place.

Sound familiar?

There are always going to be hot new trends and people removed from the day-to-day who make irrational or capricious demands.

You need to be prepared to explain why a shiny object might not be the right fit for your brand or client. The key to doing so is creating mobile personas for your customers.

My mentor Bruce Hershey, the senior director of mobile strategy at Merkle, created three personas based on data from sources such as Forrester Research and customer survey data from a wide variety of big brands and retailers.

I would urge you to dive into your own data and your own customer usage behaviours. But these three personas will offer a good starting point:

Touch screeners

Image by Charlene Chen via The Noun Project.

Image by Charlene Chen via The Noun Project.

  • 18-34 years old; typically Gen Y/Millennials
  • Follow the latest trends
  • Likely have a smartphone
  • Likely to download apps, receive coupons, bank from their phone, scan QR 
codes, watch videos and research products
Images via The Noun Project

Images via The Noun Project

Green thumbs

  • 24-44 years old; typically Gen X and Y and more likely to have small kids
  • Includes new mothers shifting online habits to mobile due to time limitations
  • Likely to access mobile web on a monthly basis, get coupons, enter sweepstakes
Image by Thomas Hirter via The Noun Project.

Image by Thomas Hirter via The Noun Project.

Straight talkers

  • 35-65 years old; Gen Xers and Boomers with teenage kids
  • Spend a majority of free time with family
  • Likely to increase mobile search behaviour, transition to mobile coupons, text 
messages, light online product research

There is clearly some overlap within these examples but it should serve as a guide for you on how to think about what types of mobile programs will resonate with your audience.

Once you’ve identified your mobile personas you’ll want to identify which tactics align with each one.

The mobile tactic heat map

Bruce Hershey’s mobile tactic heat map takes his mobile personas and examines their mobile usage behaviours by tactic. The darker the cell the more that persona engages in that activity.

A check mark indicates tactics the persona actually uses. A check mark within a dark red cell means the tactic is highly used by that persona.

No check mark means that is a very low usage behaviour and something you may want to pass on when it comes to connecting with the respective persona. Get the point?

This chart shows how different age groups interact with their mobile devices.

This chart shows how different age groups interact with their mobile devices.

Creating personas and a tactical heat map will help you quickly identify which tools may resonate most with your own customer.

Your own personas and heat map should be your guide when you receive those “shiny object” requests from your colleagues or clients.

Of course, it’s important to remember this is not a one-and-done task. As times change and more people adopt smartphones and tablets you should be constantly tweaking your personas and tactics to best serve your customers.

Now it’s your turn

Have you done the due diligence of clearly identifying mobile personas and relevant tactics for your customers? Time to get started.

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