How To Create A Customer Avatar That Works

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If you’re like many of the health tech companies I work with, you already have a really good idea of who your customer is. You’re immersed in solving their challenges with technology. You know their pain points, and you know just about everything there is to know about how their problem affects their lives.

Yet when it comes to your content, your content team often totally misses this person. They write content that has nothing to do with this customer and will never draw them to you. Sometimes this looks like content about your recent funding or new hires or press releases. While there is a time and place for those messages, they shouldn’t be your main message to your customer.

What I often find is that while you and your leadership team know your customer, that information doesn’t get passed down to your writers and content creators.

Fortunately the fix is actually really simple. It’s all about creating a customer avatar, helping your content team relate to that avatar, and documenting exactly who that person is as well as the language that will communicate best with them.

Find a real person in your story

This is something I always recommend. Instead of creating a fictional avatar that’s the sum total of all your marketing research, find a real person in your company’s story that you have already helped or that you know needs your help.

Why a real person? Because this is someone you can pick up the phone and talk to. You can actually discover what motivates them, how they feel, what their pain points are instead of just making up a theorized version of these things.

If you haven’t read the book Unconcious Branding by Douglas Van Praet, do yourself a favor and go read it. This book explains just why it’s so important to market to your customers as humans…even if you are the most B2B Digital Health company around.

Even though your customers may respond one way in a focus group, their actions may tell a different story. Take the well-known Coke vs. Pepsi debate, for instance. A study was performed years ago that asked participants what their favorite soda was. More participants chose Coke over Pepsi when they knew the names of the sodas they were drinking. When the tests were blind, however, more participants chose Pepsi over Coke.

There is a subconscious part of all of us that drives our decisions and purchases more than we are aware of. That’s why you have to connect the entire brain to your marketing - your customer’s instincts, emotions and reason all need to be stimulated by your content.

Document who this person is, how they think, how they feel, etc

Like I said at the beginning, what I often find in working with Digital Health companies is that the founders and the company leadership have a really strong grasp of exactly who their customer is. They normally have really good insight into how this person thinks, feels, and makes decisions.

However, when it comes to using that customer as a guide for content creation, the content team can often get it all wrong.

The CEO or founder may have done an excellent job of communicating about their customer to the content team, but even if they start writing to the right audience, as time goes on, they gradually forget who their customer is and move away from speaking to them in the right way.

Or, and this happens all the time, as content creators come and go, either in-house or external, the company’s leaders have to constantly re-educate new writers and watch over their shoulders to ensure they create customer-centric content.

Instead of constantly educating and re-educating your team, taking the time to document who your customer is can give you a base line to evaluate all your content on, not to mention speed up the process of on-boarding new content creators.


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Document the type of language you need to create to speak to this type of person

The final step to creating a customer avatar that works for you is creating a language guide that will help your team communicate correctly with your audience every single time.

This language guide should include information about what your brand voice should be, what types of content will demand what types of tone, and how your content should appear every single time to your audience.

This keeps your content from taking on a multiple personality disorder every time you bring on a new content creator or when your writer’s voice changes because they didn’t get their coffee that morning.

How to do this? Spend some time thinking about how your brand should be perceived every time a customer interacts with your content. That is your brand voice.

Then, consider how that voice can be played out across different contexts. This is your brand’s tone. For instance, an explainer video will likely take a different tone than an article you create for an external publication.

Finally, choose a style to always use in your content. I typically recommend AP style because it’s straight-forward, used in a variety of industries, and fairly simple to follow.

Have you created a customer avatar? If so, let me know in the comments how it is working or any questions you have!


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WHO IS WHITNEY?

Whitney is a consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help life-saving, life-changing technology break through the noise and achieve mass user adoption. Learn more about her here.

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