Walmart Canada's marketers know they're not trying to attract everybody, but targeting specific segments whose needs, wants, and preferences they can profitably satisfy.
A segment persona is a realistic yet fictitious profile representing how a buyer in the targeted segment would typically behave, think, feel, and react to marketing activities. Creating a persona helps marketing personnel to look beyond stereotypes and understand what drives the targeted segment--insights that are so valuable when planning marketing outreach to specific segments rather than a more anonymous "mass market."
Walmart recently decided to target women with young families. As part of the targeting process, it developed a segment persona to represent this consumer--someone who, research shows, perceives costs in the value equation in terms of money, time, and effort, not just purchase price.
Naturally, Walmart's marketers quickly realized they needed to update the persona to account for major life events. When women in this segment have a baby, for example, they tend to be even more careful about how they spend their time, money, and effort. Walmart may be known for low prices, but it's also trying to position itself as helpful to this segment by making shopping less time-consuming and effortful.
Above, an image from Walmart's Live Better e-mail newsletter, which offers advice and ideas for the target audience. The main Walmart message of low prices is making headway in Canada, where its sales are up amidst economic uncertainty. Even the average revenue from a single shopping cart is up. With an eye toward shoppers who prefer organic foods, Walmart Canada is now carrying own-brand organic products.
Segment personas work in B2B marketing, as well. Dun & Bradstreet sees chief marketing officers as a key customer segment, and it creates personas to help it understand what this segment wants in the way of content marketing.
I wrote about Lululemon's use of segment personas here. For more about segment personas, see this MarketingLand article and this ClickZ article.