How to Use Personas to Tailor Your Lab's Marketing Plans

Whether your customers span a small city or the entire country, three simple words should inform your water lab's marketing plans: Know your audience. To connect with the people you serve now and those you hope to reach in the future, it helps to design your messaging around specific, hypothetical individuals. In marketing lingo, these are known as personas.

Developing personas is easier if you've completed the steps to finding your lab's customer, which include analyzing your current customer database, working to understand your customers' unique characteristics, and segmenting your market. Once you've discovered who you want to market to, turn your inputs into targeted personas.

  • Start by analyzing your current customer database to identify their demographics, characteristics, pain points, and interests.
  • Using these and other data points, create personas that inform your lab's marketing content and the channels in which to share it.
  • Fine-tune your marketing plans and delivery methods based on your personas' needs and preferences.

How Personas Help Streamline Your Message

HubSpot defines personas as "fictional, generalized representations of your ideal customers." Using a persona allows you to tailor your services and outreach to the specific needs, preferences, and interests of these individuals.

Personas can help you better serve customers because you understand the messages and offers they'd respond well to. Whether you're focused on acquiring them or cross-selling services, designing messaging with a specific recipient in mind makes it more personal, authentic, and effective. This strategy can also streamline internal communication, so long as everyone knows which customer segment constitutes which persona.

Once you identify your lab's core customers, you can create personas based on their profession, age, gender, education, income, characteristics, pain points, motivators, and interests. With that, you'll better understand the situations various customers face, the outcomes critical to them, and how your services can help them.

Here are two examples of what a persona might look like for a water testing lab:

Municipality Mike

  • Profession: Operations manager or water treatment plant operator for a city or county
  • Age: 40 or older
  • Education: Technical or mechanical
  • Household income: $82,000
  • Characteristics: Service-oriented, consistent, works well under stress
  • Pain points: Doesn't have time to learn about new tests, requirements, or approaches to water testing
  • Motivators: Reliability, compliance, emergency preparedness, career advancement
  • Interests: Sports, rotary, outdoor recreation

Suburban Sarah

  • Profession: Working wife and mom to three kids
  • Age: Between 25 and 35
  • Education: Associate degree
  • Household income: $130,000
  • Characteristics: Busy, stressed, seeks out local news
  • Pain points: Worried about municipal water quality after negative reports, concerned about family's health
  • Motivators: Overall family wellness, environmental concerns, saving money
  • Interests: School service, YMCA, social media, live events

Using similar data points, you can create different models for each of your lab's core customers.

Tips for Marketing to Water Lab Personas

How you market to Mike and Sarah will vary considerably, both in terms of how you communicate with them and the messages you deliver.

Mike wants to do the best job possible to avoid water quality crises, environmental hazards, Environmental Protection Agency fines, bad public relations, and losing his job. He wants accurate, up-to-date information from water testing labs that understand the problems he faces.

Mike probably isn't interested in marketing messages—unless you're lowering the price of your services—but he appreciates accurate information. To reach customers like Mike, consider giving a talk at a community organization about the challenges and changes in municipal water testing. You can make his job easier by updating him on local and regional water quality issues, additional testing for substances like perfluorinated compounds, and new technologies for more rapid testing.

Sarah's main concern, on the other hand, is taking care of her family and ensuring her kids grow up healthy and happy. She's heard about regulated and nonregulated compounds in municipal water supplies and how young children may be particularly susceptible to their effects. Sarah may be considering ordering a drinking water test kit to determine if she should invest in a filtration system.

Marketing for customers like Sarah might include special offers on drinking water testing in materials at local schools or the YMCA. You may also want to use social media and text messaging to engage with her. In all of these efforts, emphasize that your lab can help parents keep their families safe without them spending a small fortune to do so.

Defining personas will help you fine-tune your water lab marketing plan and forge connections with current and prospective clients. By taking time to define each of these audience segments, your lab can position itself as an authority that's well-suited to serve a diverse range of needs.

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Diana Kightlinger

Diana Kightlinger is an experienced journalist, copywriter, and blogger for science, technology, and medical organizations. She writes frequently for Fortune 500 corporate clients but also has a passion for explaining scientific research, raising awareness of issues, and targeting positive outcomes for people and communities. Diana holds master’s degrees in environmental science and journalism.