July 15, 2016

Should you bother with ‘Avatar exercises’?

A number of people have told me this week they are completing ‘avatar exercises’.

An avatar exercise is where you dream up one or more faceless humans who supposedly have the personality traits of your ideal customer.

The danger of creating an ‘avatar’ is that it feels… too generic. To comfortable. Too broad brush. Your audience are actually a collection of complicated individuals, not a set of comfortably determined avatars.

I do think there is value in the exercise, but the real value is in determiningsome of the commonalities between individuals in your audience. You do this by getting specific.

I have an avatar exercise I sometimes use. I originally took the questions from Howie Jacobson. I’ll sometimes work through this with a client if I’m getting vague answers on who we are trying to target.

The point of this exercise is you have to work through it quickly (don’t agonise on a particular question for too long), and above all be specific.

Give your avatar a name. Give him or her an age. Not ’40’, or ’40-50′. Give a specific age, like 47 and three months.

Don’t tell me your avatar lives ‘in London’. Where in London? What address?

Don’t tell me your avatar has ‘two kids’. How old are the kids? What are their names?

When you write the day from their diary, take your time and be specific. What time do they break for coffee in the morning? What coffee do they drink? Freshly ground filter? Or scummy freeze-dried Nescafe?

When you start to be this specific you start to uncover all sorts of hidden knowledge about your audience. Not all of the things you write down will be usable. But you’ll find gems hidden in the mud. Some of these gems will end up in your AdWords ads and in your autoresponder emails.

You already know more than you think about your target audience. An avatar exercise has to deal in specifics if you are going to uncover that knowledge.

Feel free to complete the exercise and send it to me. I’ll send you some comments, and let you know if you are being specific enough.

Rob Drummond

Rob Drummond runs the Maze Marketing Podcast and Maze Mastery. Rob specialises in content production, ad creation, storytelling and CRM systems. He has two published books, Magnetic Expertise and Simple Story Selling, affordable on Amazon.