How To Build A Customer Avatar For Your Lifesaving Technology
So you’ve figured out who your ideal customer is. Is that enough? Or do you need to do more?
Obviously I'm writing this blog post, so the answer is YES. Any company in any industry needs to do this. However, in health tech, I see founders skip this important step or do it haphazardly. And that makes total sense because they are super busy creating and perfecting their technology.
So why a customer avatar?
Let me ask you this: have you ever tried to speak to an empty room or to write without knowing who you’re writing to? It’s hard! Speakers need an audience, and so do writers. Even if you do know who your ideal customer is, you need to flesh out the details so you can create the entire way of communicating with them.
Here’s how you can do that:
Fill out the demographic detail
This is where you learn all sorts of interesting facts about your avatar, like where they live, who they live with, where they work, what they do, etc. Start by asking basic demographic questions:
How old are they?
Age is a huge factor in how you communicate to your ideal customer and also plays a role in what platforms you use. For instance, if you’re speaking to millennials you’ll want to use channels like Instagram, your blog, and email. If your ideal customer is a baby boomer, however, the social media channels you may decide to use would be Facebook and your blog and then you may try other more traditional forms of marketing like magazine advertising and PR.
What is their gender?
Gender also plays a role in how and where you speak to them. Different social media platforms skew toward different genders and even the words you choose for your content will speak to different genders differently.
Where do they live?
Do they live in a rural area? Suburban? Urban? North America? Europe? Asia?
Their region affects how they hear your message as well. Even if you are from the U.S. and they are from the U.S., their location has a specific, unique culture that colors their perception.
What education level have they reached?
High school diploma? Bachelors? Grad school? All of these can play a significant role in what problems they face and what they need or want from you and how you communicate with them.
What’s their family life like? Married, single, kids, no kids?
Their family life affects the issues they have and their needs. For instance, a mom of two has different problems than a bachelor with no kids.
The job situation
Since the majority of adults spend 8+ hours a day at their workplace, occupation details are super important as you build your avatar. If your target audience is under 18 or still in college, instead of work life, you can use school life here.
Who do they work for?
Working for a large organization or working for a small business or working for themselves - all of these come with different problems and perspectives. A 50-year-old male who works at Oracle is going to need to hear different messages from a 25-year-old just going into business for himself.
What do they do?
40 hours a week turns into over 90,000 hours at work over the course of a lifetime. That’s 10 straight years doing the same tasks over and over and over. What they spend their days doing will influence what they need. Do they sit at a desk all day? Do they teach small children how to read? Do they play basketball for a living?
How long have they been doing it?
Just starting a new career versus nearing retirement makes a big difference in needs and wants.
Write a story of what their day looks like.
What time do they get up, go to bed, eat, workout, go to work? Knowing how they spend their time gives you insight into what problems they might have. If you sell workout plans, understanding your customer’s life helps you tailor your plans and your message to her. For instance, a busy working mom may want a short 20 minute workout because she just doesn’t have the time for anything longer. Or on the flip side, maybe she wants a longer workout because it’s her way of disconnecting and recharging her batteries for all of her responsibilities.
What problems do they have that you could solve?
Based on what you’ve learned in this exercise and working through the 7 steps to discovering your ideal customer, what problems does your ideal customer have that you can solve? Think beyond the surface level. A meal kit company, sure, solves the problem of getting food on the table every night. But more than that, it streamlines food prep so parents have more time with their kids, more time to relax, more time to sleep - whatever they need at that point in their life.
If their problem doesn’t get solved, what’s the worst that could happen?
If you don’t solve their problem, who will? And if their problem doesn’t get solved, what will that mean for their lives? Back to the meal kit giving back time to busy parents - if no one solves their problem of getting dinner on the table, they have less time to spend with their kids. And that, any good parent will tell you, turns into a hefty dose of mom or dad guilt. That’s not fun to live with.
What’s the best thing that could happen?
What is the absolute best outcome for your ideal customer? Giving back time to parents at dinner means stronger relationships with their kids, more time playing catch, reading books, or drawing pictures together and less mom/dad guilt. The ideal solution is the one you should aim for. It may be impossible to totally achieve, but you should get as close as you can to reaching it for the sake of your customer.
Write a short summary about your customer, their life, and add pictures if you want.
This is the fun part. Write a short summary or story about your customer based on everything you’ve learned. Give them a name and fill out the details of their lives. If you’re artistic (unlike me), add a few drawings of what they look like, some of their activities, and how they feel when you solve their problem. If you’re unartistic (like me!), you can grab a stock image or two of your ideal customer. I find that actually seeing who you’re speaking to as you create content helps you develop more concrete messages directed at your ideal customer.
What does your customer avatar look like? Need help creating one? Post any questions in the comments, and I'll get back to you!
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.