AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerGet To Know Your Personas

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Get To Know Your Personas

If you regularly read this blog, you know I enjoy all the content from NN/g ( They have developed the best paragraph describing personas I’ve ever read:

“Personas are a quick, empathy-inducing shorthand for our users’ context, motivations, needs, and approaches to using our products. They are meant to help us focus on what matters most to our users and put ourselves in their shoes when making design decisions. Because of this, they must always be rooted in a qualitative understanding of users and reflect the what and why that drives them.”Business people icons

Boom. Done and done. There is one word from that definition that says it all: Empathy. The persona exercise in marketing is all about empathy. Empathy is the ability to remove your own biases and experiences and to imagine and feel what someone else thinks.

You have to feel their pain, know their hopes, understand their wants and do more than walk in their shoes; you have to center yourself in their lives. This is not compassion or sympathy. It is understanding what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference.

If you can’t empathize with another audience, you will have difficulty being a successful marketer. People with high empathy usually don’t say phrases such as, “I like that …” when talking about marketing executions. The empathetic marketer understands that their own likes may not align with the target audience. What you might hear is, “That message is right on target. … Our persona is going to love that. … You’ve matched with our persona’s dreams.”


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.