defining ideal pharma customer with a marketing persona

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Personas For Pharma: Defining Pharmaceutical Companies Target Market

With the focus on consumer-centric messaging by pharma and healthcare brands, are you using personas to ensure that your brand meets this need efficiently and effectively?

The easy abundance of online health information has made it easy for consumers to gather information and weigh their healthcare purchase options carefully and thoughtfully.

However, the challenge for pharma marketers is to create high-quality content that educates, engages, and inspires these online readers who search for healthcare information to satisfy their needs.

So how do you craft meaningful, helpful, and valuable content marketing that will attract people to read?

You can draw more eyeballs to your content by creating marketing personas that help you intimately understand your audience.

That means understanding who they are, their pain points, and most importantly how you can help them solve those problems.

So in this article, you will understand the following:

  • What are marketing personas?
  • How do marketing personas help pharma marketers?
  • What makes good pharma marketing personas?
  • And how to create marketing personas that drive conversions.

Let's get started.

What Are Marketing Personas?

Let's get this straight from the start. Your marketing personas are not the doctors, consumers, or paramedics.

And if you're trying to be funny and specific, they are not general physicians, pediatricians, dermatologists, pharmacists, patients, either.

So what is it, you may ask?

According to Ardath Albee, “Marketing persona is a composite sketch of a key segment of your audience. For content marketing purposes, you need personas to help you deliver content that will be most relevant and useful to your audience”.

Let’s break that definition into an easily digestible form:

  • Composite sketch – A composite sketch means a blend or mixture that reflects most of the people it is supposed to represent.
  • A key segment of your audience – A marketing persona represents a segment of your target market, not the whole thing. If your target market is ‘healthcare professionals’, you can have doctors, nurses, and clinicians so long as there is enough of a difference between them to warrant a separate persona. You can also have multiple healthcare professionals' personas broken up by business size, industry, or whatever makes sense for your business.

Simply put, personas are the personal attributes of your target audience. 

These personal traits that your readers naturally have, include age, gender, etc., and psychographic information.

The attributes make your target audience unique and can determine your effectiveness in engaging with them emotionally.

Marketing personas are a comprehensive “map” of the mind and personalities of your audience.

They help you see the world from their perspective.

By compiling these traits and distilling them into different personas, you create a solid representation of the actual humans you want to attract and convert.

How Do Marketing Personas Help Marketers?

Personas help pharma marketers identify, craft, and deliver content based on the pressing needs of the target audience. 

They help copywriters create content that shows understanding and empathy for the end-users.

Personas help copywriters craft copy from a perspective similar to the user.

Personas help marketers create content that offers solutions to the different pain points of segments of the target audience.

Why is this important?

Because your customers don't want cookie-cutter messaging. Instead, they expect all marketing communications tailored to their specific wants and needs.

Consider these statistics:

  • Over 78% of consumers will only engage with offers if they have been tailored to the engagements they've had with the brand (source).
  • 81% of consumers want brands to know and understand them to know when to approach them and when not to (source).
  • 87% of consumers say that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about a brand (source).
  • 63% of respondents are highly annoyed by the way brands continue to rely on the old-fashioned strategy of blasting generic ad messages repeatedly (source).
  • 63% of consumers said they’d think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting, or relevant (source).

So with personas, pharma marketers can brainstorm, vet, and tailor their ideas to the right people, ensuring that your content is always interesting, relevant, and valuable.

Knowledge gained from personas can also influence other brand elements, like the tone of voice and design aesthetic.

The high-quality content pharma marketer produces, the easier it is to build a strong community of like-minded people who will support the brand long term.

Effective marketing personas also help marketers attract, engage, persuade and convert their target audience.

However, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2021 B2B Content Marketing Report, 44% of marketers are not using marketing personas to influence their content. 

So, marketing with personas in mind can immediately help you stay ahead of the competition.

What Makes A Good Marketing Persona?

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Since your brand is unique, your customer persona needs are relevant to your brand and whatever you're selling.

A good marketing persona starts with basic information like the name and age of your target audience.

As you gather more information, then you can get more specific about their job, income, location, and living situation.

It should also incl their interests, hobbies, lifestyle, and personal life impact on their buying behavior.

Having said all that:

A good persona boils down to three key elements:

  1. They’re accurate. A persona that is good and accurate requires solid research. And that is true no matter how long you've been in business. Knowing more about your customers, and going to the source is the only way to get the truth.
  2. They’re brief. You want your personas to be thorough and brief and to the point. Information overload can fog the true perception of your target audience. Leave out details that don't speak to the core needs of your target audience and how you can serve them.
  3. They’re useful. A good marketing persona helps to know your readers better so that you can offer solutions to their pain points. That is why brevity is so important. Creating clear, distinct, and distilled personas can help you create human, helpful, and relevant content that attracts, engages, persuades, and converts.  

These elements can help you build personas that are practical and applicable.

Example Of Healthcare Persona

An ideal physician persona for a target market segment of a pharmaceutical company. 

To get you to understand what a thoughtful persona is, here is a description of a customer:

The customer your pharma marketer targets, is Dr. Johnson, an oncologist for a large hospital. He is well known for over ten years in the community and has good patient reviews. He likes to play chess. And he is very active on top social networking sites for medical professionals like Sermo, and Doximity. Dr. Johnson likes to read journals like Annals of Oncology and The Lancet Oncology. He consults many patients for their health problems. However, he is not satisfied with the results of the current drugs available on the market for cancer. His patients are also not happy with the side effects they get from these drugs. Dr. Johnson is committed to giving the best patient care experience. But he fears having a bad reputation. He loves to read and research to improve his knowledge and skills. Dr. Johnson has a good social media following and a personal blog. He blogs consistently and shares his vast medical experience and knowledge with his audience". 

Can you imagine how you could elevate your communication with interesting, relevant, and compelling content to such a targeted market segment?

You will naturally know what you need to SAY and DO for this customer. 

And with this persona, you will communicate with them directly as if you knew them personally!

How To Create Pharmaceutical Marketing Personas

how to create pharmaceutical marketing personas

Creating the pharma marketing personas starts with creating the customer avatar.

But what is a customer avatar?

A customer avatar is simply a detailed profile of your ideal customer in the target market of your pharma brand. 

If you can discover or create your avatar, you have the first and most important step in creating your digital marketing plan of action. 

Create Multiple Personas For Different Groups

As you have learned, personas are representations of your customer segments.

But what do you do if your pharma customer base is too diverse and segmented? 

Simple: create more personas.

Consider creating personas separately for patients, physicians, consumers, and whichever other categories of audience you wish to target.

Also, even within a segment of your targeted doctors, you may have 2-3 customer avatars. So having multiple customer avatars is fine!

The goal should be to have a single persona representing a single group. For some pharma brands, one persona is all they need for their customers. 

On the other hand, you may need a few different personas for enterprises.

The beauty of multiple personas is that they also allow you to tailor your campaigns to different segments.

The question arises, how do you create a persona?

First of all:

#1. Talk To Your Pharma Target Audience

Knowing your ideal pharma customer in the digital world requires a closer analysis.

It starts with demographics, age, gender, or income. Additionally, you have to uncover the customers' pain points, fears, frustrations, and real needs. 

It starts with the research. It helps you gather information about your ideal customer.

It is always best to interview your customers to know who they are and what they need.

But, if you have an established customer base, it is easy to know your ideal customer.

However, if you are new in your business and with no customer base, look for surveys, studies, and other relevant research that might help you get the same information

But first, you need to get the following information from your customers:  

  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender 
  • Job title 
  • Social media channels 
  • Pain points (the problems they want solutions for)
  • How your product/service helps solve their problems (the core messages you want your content to deliver)

The information you gather will help you craft your personas. Use the attributes above to help you draft simple questions you will be asking.

 The next step is to research, reach out, and document your findings. 

There are many wany you can reach out to people. For instance, you can ask questions via in-person chats, calls, and emails.

You can also go through your customer surveys or online feedback to gather more information.

Your goal is to gather as much information as possible about your customers. And that will help you craft the most relevant and accurate personas.

#2. Consolidate Your Responses

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After thorough research, you should have great information for creating your pharma personas.

Collect your responses, and get your team to assemble, consolidate, and categorize your data. 

Make sure you have an overall view of every pain point your healthcare professionals and patients have identified, their ages, gender, income, etc. 

At this stage, you will start to notice common themes or even phrases in answers provided by people.

You may even be surprised to see respondents provide you with challenges you never expected. 

These are the best insights to developing well-rounded and thoughtful pharma marketing personas.

#3. Write A Rough Draft

After your interviews, you should have a good understanding of whom your target segments are.

And that's all the information you need to start drafting your personas. 

But before crafting your personas, determine how many personas you will need.

Your type of business and your marketing goals should dictate this. I recommend creating 3-5 personas. If you craft more, you’re probably missing the mark.


Start to identify your audience segments.

  • Name: Each persona should have a relevant name.
  • Age: Include the age range here, for example, 25-35 years old.
  • Gender: Include if applicable.
  • Job title: Include the type of healthcare professional if applicable. On the other hand, you may identify another characteristic. 
  • Channels: Identify the social networks where they spend the most time online.
  • Pain points: After your interviews, you should have a significant list of pain points. Narrow the list to the three most popular pain points.
  • How your product/service helps solve their problems: This should offer solutions directly to the main pain points you’ve outlined.

In the end, you should have a defined group of persons that are both specific and distinct.

#4. Finalize Your Pharma Personas

finalize your pharma personas

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After drafting your personas, it’s time to review them. Circulate your personas among your relevant people, sales team, or brand team for feedback and refine as needed.

Another way to finalize the pharma persona is to use the information you’ve distilled for each persona to craft a simple story. 

The story could be as simple as a paragraph or so to capture who the target customer is. 

This summary can help bring your personas to life and make them memorable.

Once you’ve made your edits and have final approval, you can memorialize them in a template. You can use Google Docs, an Excel spreadsheet, or whatever works for your team. 

Regularly review and update your pharma personas, especially any time you make changes to your content marketing strategy.

How To Use Your New Personas 

After you have your brand new personas, put them to work in your content marketing strategy.

  • Use empathy when you brainstorm. Make sure your content delivers something that your target audience needs or wants. And that is whether the content is inspirational, educational, or entertaining. 
  • Tell a consistent story. Use this brand messaging structure to help you tell a cohesive story that resonates with your personas.
  • Measure your success. Track the right metrics for your content strategy. The metrics help you see if the stories you’re telling are working.

After Thoughts On How To Use Pharma Personas To Define Your Target Market

Buyer personas and the development methodology are powerful tools that help define your target market. When used effectively, they help you to best connect and market to buyers. And that is if they are crafted within the intent and context of understanding the underlying goals driving people to make the choices and decisions that they do.

As a pharma marketer, recognize the power of buyer personas and dedicate the time and effort needed to create them.

Contact us for any aspect of your content strategy marketing. 

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