Sometimes when you’ve never written a buyer persona and are looking for an organizational structure, it helps to go from an example. One way to organize your persona’s characteristics is by turning their life into a story.
Here’s a persona we used to use in creating content to target nonprofit marketing managers. Meet Mary!
Mary is a 32-year-old marketing director in the nonprofit industry. She works for a local, no-kill animal shelter for cats and dogs in a wealthy suburb of Chicago and lives nearby with her husband of 8 years, their three-year-old daughter, and their two dogs and cat. She graduated from a state university with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.
Every day, Mary drives to work and starts a full workday. Her job is measured mainly in her ability to convert animals to adoptions and cultivate partnerships and raise funds for animal care. Her typical day involves all types of marketing from planning adoption events, cultivating partnerships with community organizations, organizing campaigns for fundraising and donations, and running a digital presence, including social media and a website.
Her job requires organization, time management, creativity, leadership, and passion and she frequently makes use of her knowledge of community organizations and networks and the nonprofit industry. She reports to the shelter director and oversees teams of volunteers when she needs them. Her shelter employs three full-time employees – one director, one head of marketing, and one veterinarian. There are also six animal care specialists and adoption specialists who are employed part-time with a rotating cast of about 10 unpaid volunteers. Mary worked her way up the chain of command from a volunteer in high school.
Each day, Mary is responsible for maintaining current donors and attracting new ones, writing grants, running adoption campaigns, organizing fundraising events, and creating community partnerships. For her, total success is an empty shelter, but daily success is increased adoption rates, increased numbers of donors, increased grant funding, new community partnerships, and new and improved fundraising and adoption events. She also wants to expand the shelter to accommodate other small mammals.
Her biggest challenges in achieving these goals include mainly a lack of resources, including human resources, time, and money. She also needs more information on specific tactics for execution of solid, clear strategies. Mary has enough marketing knowledge to know she’s been trying fruitlessly to expand the shelter’s marketing efforts through branding and content – and can’t do it alone.
When searching for an agency to help her nonprofit organization, Mary will search for information from local sources, specifically other nonprofit marketing directors in her area she meets at networking events. She will also use organic search methods.
Mary is running on an extremely tight budget and she needs an agency she knows to be reliable through word of mouth and judgement of the agency’s online presence. She wants a solid proposition from several agencies before making her decision. She also expects consistent progress updates after hiring the agency.
What do you think? Did we nail this persona? What did we miss?
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