The 5 Ws Inform Effective Marketing Campaigns

July 13, 2016

When you were in high school learning to write papers, your English teacher probably introduced you to the five Ws: who, what, when, where and why. He or she likely taught you that a paper wasn’t complete without all five. If you have journalism experience, you surely know that, for journalists, the five Ws are gospel. What you may not know is that the five Ws will also inform effective marketing campaigns that rely on buyer personas. Why? Because unless you include all five in your buyer personas, they are as incomplete as that paper you got a “D” on in high school.

  • Who—This is the easy part, but it’s also where many buyer personas begin and end. The “who” includes all of the demographics: age, gender, financial health, marital status, employment, etc. These are all important components of buyer personas, and they will inform your marketing campaigns to a great degree. However, they are not the be-all and end-all that too many marketers believe they are.
  • What—The “what” in a buyer persona refers to tastes. That is, what are your ideal buyer’s likes and dislikes? Do they prefer luxury over utility? Do they prefer long-term purchases (i.e., paying a premium for a product that will last) or short-term purchases (i.e., the least expensive option always)? Answering the “what” will help you identify more clearly those consumers who are open to your product or service.
  • When—The “when” refers to the buyer persona’s decision point. Does your ideal consumer decide to purchase on impulse? Or does he or she exhaustively research options before making a purchase? That is, the “when” provides you with a map of the buyer persona journey, and it will guide which channels your marketing campaign needs to access.
  • Where—This one is easy, too, because it requires answering one question: online, offline, or both? That is, where do your buyer personas shop? If you’re an online-only company, answering this will help you isolate your ideal buyers from those who prefer bricks-and-mortar shopping.
  • Why—The “why” is all about psychographics. Complete buyer personas must have details about personality traits, values, attitudes, interests and lifestyles. Answering the “why” will help you to home in on the idea segments, and it will help you identify the messages that will resonate with them.

Buyer personas require extensive research if they are to help inform your marketing campaigns. You must dig in and make certain they are complete. After all, a “D” result from a marketing campaign is a very, very bad thing. And when your campaign hits it out of the park, be sure to thank your English teacher.