Pen Portraits: Secret to understand Target Customers

Targeting customers is not an easy job! Therefore, you must understand your target customers as it is the best way to target your customers. However, writing a vague description of your customers will not do the job! You have to create a pen portrait...

Pen Portraits: Secret to understand Target Customers

Targeting customers is not an easy job! Therefore, you must understand your target customers as it is the best way to target your customers. However, writing a vague description of your customers will not do the job! You have to create a pen portrait. A pen portrait, often called a customer avatar or a buyer persona, is a thorough portrait of your ideal reader. An informal description of a person or group of people that may include age and other 'hard' data, but focuses on softer factors like attitudes, looks, and lifestyle.

I'm not referring to a physical image, but rather to the attributes that define that reader. It's similar to thinking about your 'core demographic' (awful marketing jargon, I know), but let’s understand it in details.  

What are pen portraits?

Pen Portraits are what you can define as a picture of the characteristics of your ideal reader or target audience in a lot more detail. A Pen Portrait is also known as a Buyer’s Persona, an Indicative Persona, or a Customer’s Avatar is the literal text that resonate the actual message of your marketing strategy with your readers, customers, or consumers to help you in your business development. The more detailed your Pen Portraits are, the better it would be for your business’ potential and explicit growth.

Purpose of creating pen portraits or buyers’ personas

Organizations and professional businesses create pen portraits in order to identify and understand the intrinsic as well as extrinsic motivation and behavioral patterns of the specific customers. This understanding of the specific needs of the target audience helps develop businesses with a prospective client base for a number of potential purposes. 

How pen portraits help you?

Pen Portraits aid the brands or businesses to gain a deeper knowledge and to address the needs, and attitudes of a prospective audience. Furthermore, organizations tailor strategies through pen portraits to bridge the gap between a business and its buyers to support potential growth strategies and opportunities.

A pen portrait must be audience-centric as it helps organizations to identify the opportunities for their potential and explicit growth, to determine their marketing strategy, and to bridge the breach between the brand and the consumers of specific products. So, pen portraits are created to understand the target audience base as well as to maximize the potential growth opportunities.

Understanding your buyer pen portrait

A buyer pen portrait is created on strategic business decisions of a specific business, brand, or service to add value to the business. If it is created only on the basis of assumptions, it would be heavy on the job title of the organization. Also, a buyer pen portrait with limited research turns into stereotypes that affect the emotional drivers and needs of the target audience and result in damaging social awareness which an organization wants to spread to its target audience.

What should be included in a buyer’s pen portrait

There are a lot of preferences you can think of while you are filling in your pen portraits. Your curated list of preferences would help you wedded to your pen portrait to find you right way of speaking to your target audience. Below are some before you start writing your pen portrait: 

Background data and traits that define a specific group

Customers’ segmentation in a specific group based on their needs and perceptions helps an organization to design a curated list of background data and traits of a group of existing customers. This marketing effort on the part of the organization leverages the highest return on investment as well as customers’ satisfaction. This segmentation is usually included background and demographic data based on their personas such.

Basic background data includes the amount of budget a specific industry or a department spends on its brand, the industry their brand or company is active in. Additionally, the responsibilities of the company, as well as professionals in it, are also included in a well-written pen portrait.

Specific demographic details include the name of a person, gender, age, household income, wants and needs, education level, employment type, etc. 

Ideal consumers’ goals and interests

A pen portrait while you are writing it for Business to Business persona might include a list of goals and objectives of a specific brand and its customers.

It may also include a business’s fundamental values. On the other hand, while creating a pen portrait for the Business to Customer persona, one must keep in mind the life-stage aims and goals, leisure activities, hobbies, and the customer’s relevant interests.

Challenges and pain points of your target audience

Keeping in view the pain points and challenges the audience faces are elementary for representing the opportunities of the organization. Persona must aim to identify the underlying reasons for customers’ specific behaviors in a specific context. The challenges or pain points can be purchasing decisions or any relevant challenges a group of audience or consumers might be facing. 

Your audience’s attitude towards a specific business

Pen portraits capture a perception or view of a brand or an organization which it is offering to its customers or the industry as a whole. Relevant consumers of a brand identify the relevant personas or pen portraits with a favorable and unfavorable perception according to a specific context. Capturing the attitude of the target audience towards a specific brand, service, or product is an important competitive benchmark for the competing businesses and products in an industry. 

Identify your consumers’ explicit drivers which make them switch to specific business decisions

A well-designed pen portrait identifies the explicit drivers of different target audience segments regarding their perceptions while making a purchasing decision. Moreover, pen portraits consider, the issues that drive the users of a specific brand to change their perception which stops them from using a specific product, or what makes them switch to a different service or product.  

How to use pen portraits in marketing

Here are the following strategies about how to use pen portraits for marketing your brand or maximizing the growth of your business. Dig a little deeper to explore what they are, how these strategies work, and how they can return you the highest returns on your little investments smartly. 

Define strategy for marketing

A well-researched and well-curated pen portrait with a well-defined strategic plan captures the growth of a high-value segment of the target audience. A pen Portrait or a Customer’s Avatar clearly informs the marketing strategy employed by an organization which may include activity, content, and campaign for business development. Overall, a pen portrait consists of the marketing efforts of a specific brand or business as a whole with the highest returns on the set investments. 

Evaluate marketing channels

In order to capture a segmented target audience, the most effective strategy is to evaluate the marketing channels to grow business as well as prospective clients. Marketing channels along with pen portraits help the business to design the specific objectives to enable growth potentials with the already existing target audience or consumers of the product or service as well as attract new clients’ segments.

Develop resonating messages for marketing

A highly valued marketing requires an attractive message which can resonate with what a brand or a business what to sell to its potential customers. Develop a message that resonate the most with the needs and preferences of your specific target audience segment. A great message to market your brand increases existing customer satisfaction which grows new and prospective clients, and also wins potential market share. It also helps to launch a business’ new products in case of double returns.  

Create a growth potential business plan

A company in the marketing world could not make progress if it has not set its growth potential plan before launching its services. The audience segments grow and win market share with time in an industry if the company has managed with the long-term and short-term growth potential business plans beforehand. 

What questions you should ask yourself while creating a buyer’s persona?

A highly-skilled writer writes the pen portraits for a developing business by breaking its target audience into manageable chunks and by giving priorities to their wants and needs. Depending on the objectives and needs, each target audience, as well as the market segment, demands a thorough understanding of some of the queries. So, a buyer’s persona must be based on the below-listed queries and the creator must ask himself these questions before asking them from customers to make business as well as audience grow and evolve at a fast pace. Here are some:   

What drives the customer?

First thing while creating a pen portrait for your target audience is that try to put yourself in their shoes first. Think what they can think.

Prioritize what they will give priorities to. What are their attitudes towards a specific product and what are the drivers that push them to use or stop using a brand or service.  

What are your customer’s issues and how will you resolve them?

Try to configure the issues that your target audience is facing or can face at any time. Research the possible problems related to the products or services you are offering to your existing customers and devise a solution to cope them up for the new potential customers. Consult market experts for the strategies and solutions your customers could possibly have. 

How can you make things easy for your customer?

Break your target audience into manageable chunks and listen to their queries and suggestions. Think about how you can make your products and services better based on existing customers’ reviews and suggestions. Customers’ reviews will help your business thrive better in the industry because they identify the lacks and shortcomings you are having in your services.  

What is the reason which stops a consumer from becoming your ideal customer?

Think of the reasons why your consumers are restrictive to using your products or services. Whether you are not improving as per their suggestions or your products are not up-to-date. There might be a possibility that any other company offers better products than yours at consumer-effective rates and values their customers, which your business does not. 

Basic questions while you are creating a pen portrait

Try to address some basic questions about an individual whether you are creating a Pen Portrait for yourself or your audience. Here are they to get the ball rolling:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Religion
  • Political Affiliation or Stance
  • Relationship Status
  • Number of Children
  • Introvert or Extrovert
  • Location
  • Business Name
  • Preferred Mode of Transport
  • Favorite Film or Song
  • Favorite Sports
  • Favorite Color
  • Favorite Food/Book/Drinks

How to create a pen portrait of your reader?

Here are some of the tactics you can keep in your mind while creating a pen portrait for any business, brand, or service imaginatively and creatively.

Understand your audience

The first and foremost thing while devising a marketing strategy for the business is to know and understand your target audience.

Consumers should be the key focus

If a company only does things that its owner or workers like then it would never be successful. In order to thrive actively in the market, the company needs to do things that interest its prospective consumers. Pen portraits should be designed keeping this rule in mind while creating them for any brand or business.

Build a consumer profile

Pen portraits are all about serving the needs and preferences of the target readers. Personas should be in the way that the consumers can accept and take advantage of. So, build a consumer profile so that your brand can stick to the wants your potential clients want.

Know what your consumers are into

Finding out what the target consumers of your specific product are into helps the brand to provide insights into the strategies and influencers that can work for their business.

Understand what channels and platforms your consumers use

To figure out where your consumers hang out, the next tactic after finding what your clients are into is, understanding the channels they use. Figure out what channels your target consumers or audience is on. Also, configure the ways how they connect with that platforms and channels. 

Understand your target audience’s perception

Pen portraits in the industry are meant to be commercial. In the market, we are not supposed to write for ourselves. Consumers are just not like us. So, in this case, imagination and creativity are really put to test while creating pen portraits.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes

You can never grow in the industry if you do things according to your own personal desires. Put your audience first, even before your own brand because they make you grow in the market. Audience and consumers are the real industry.

Know your ideal audience’s touch points

Identification of the Touch points is the right direction to create a consumer or pen portrait. Check whether your audience uses any of the Social Media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, etc., create an attractive marketing message, and collaborate with the platform to capture their attention through your marketing campaign.

Engage your creative team to seek the guide on the peaks of advertising to skyrocket your business’ growth. 

Translate the picture of your consumers’ priorities to your creative team

Once you have found out what interests your audience the most, their behaviors and attitudes towards a specific product and service, what are your clients’ priorities in life are, and what are the key areas which make them tick to use your product, translate this literal picture to your creative team. This tactic will help you build a consumer profile.  

Sample pen portrait

A sample of a pen portrait designed according to a curated list of basics and preferences which you can ask from your clients is as under:

  • Malick, 32 years old
  • Married with 2 kids
  • Lives in New York
  • A competent Chartered Accountant
  • Works part-time from home
  • A religious person
  • Concerned about the environment
  • Has earned his degree in Finance
  • Knows three languages
  • Has center-left political views
  • Volunteers at local and cultural events
  • Enjoys gardening and movies in leisure time
  • Loves reading fiction before he goes to sleep
  • Prefers literary festivals on weekends
  • Prefers dogs to cats
  • Not a fan of the Democratic Party
  • Enjoys 70s classic music while working
  • Likes camping with peers once a year

These are some of the questions you can ask your regular clients to avoid trotting out stereotypes. You do not need to go into the minute details of the client. Instead, note down specific information to know your target audience segment to think better about creating the best pen portrait for the business.


In conclusion, do not underestimate the power of pen portrait. It is the secret weapon to understand your targeted customers. Therefore, use your best people to paint the right pen portrait. However, always be very specific while creating a pen portrait! Remember, the more specific pen portrait is, the better it would be for the potential growth of the business in a competitive industry. Therefore, do not create ambiguous pen portrait by wider factors. Instead, focus on being specific!

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