Audience personas for Essex: our latest data-driven marketing tool

With a population of nearly two million people, Essex County Council has a huge potential audience. We know, across our residents, there are different levels of digital capability, they prefer different digital channels and they also get their news from different sources. 

Our new audience personas are here to help us understand our audiences in more detail.  silhouettes of a diverse group of people

What is an audience persona?  

Personas are semi-fictional representation of our target audiences. In essence, the names and faces are made up, but insights are data-led.  

Audience personas are a common marketing tool, looking beyond the audience size to help us imagine audiences as ‘real’ people.  

Personas for Essex are ready now 

After extensive research, we have a collection of personas that represent real Essex residents.  

Using a character name, the personas illustrate: 

  • demographics including: age, gender, location, household compostion, profession, household income 
  • where in Essex they’re likely to live  
  • where do they read their news? do they read print newspapers or only digital articles? 
  • what social media platforms do they use? How often? 

More information on what data was used to create the audience personas is available on the toolkit. 

How can we use audience personas? 

Using the personas, we have another way to make sure our communications are user-centred. Here are three examples of how use the personas.  

First, pick your marketing channels with purpose 

Often, we have a shopping list of marketing channels to pick from, including several social media platforms, email newsletters, print advertising etc. Using personas, we can understand which channels our audiences are actively using.  

This means we can improve our reach, by placing communications in the right places to start with.  

Next, understand who our audiences are influencing 

The personas also offer context around the people in our audiences lives, including:  

  • who else is in their household 
  • their children’s ages 
  • how close they are with their neighbours 
  • volunteering and community involvement  

This is useful to know, as the personas could become messengers for hard to reach audiences. For example, 16 – 24 year olds may be given a message from parents or a 65+ year old could be given information from their neighbour. 

Finally, use them to frame messaging  

Some examples of context included in the personas, and examples of when it’s useful to consider include: 

  • whether they are coping/struggling financially – useful to consider if your campaign has a cost association or offers support 
  • employment status – useful to consider if your campaign is promoting new opportunities  
  • health attitudes – useful if your campaign is offering intervention, or encouraging behaviour change 

Benefits of using audience personas 

Ultimately, the personas are here to help us, as communications and marketing teams, create effective content.  

Prioritising our time and resources  

Instead of creating content for all channels, we can focus on which channels will be the most impactful on our audiences.  

Minimising waste  

Especially with paid advertising, we can avoid channels that will not create an effective return on investment. 

Improving engagement by being audience-led 

We can be sure our communications are in the right place, at the right time for our audiences. 

Where to find audience personas  

Each audience persona is available on our Communications and Marketing toolkit. Advice on how to choose which persona you need to use is also available. 

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