When I say “Avatar” what are you thinking?

Avatar the file
Were you thinking of the film?

Were you thinking of your best customer and what it is that makes them stand out from the crowd?

Or were you thinking of blue people from Avatar, the James Cameron film that used a mix of CGI and actors it starred Sigourney Weaver?  For computer gamers, an avatar is the name given to character or profile icon in gameplay or on some social media site.



An Avatar is Gold  

Tube Station People
An Avatar stands out from the crowd

For marketers like myself, an avatar is the gold standard in market research; it is a creative exploration of the ideal customer, part fiction and part reality.  The point is we are looking for something that makes the ideal client stand out from the crowd.

We are looking for real differences, some that are visible and others that hidden. These are the aspects of personality or history that shape who they are.  What they love or hate, where is their passion, what is it that they secretly desire. What is painful, what makes them happy.

Then Misuse of Pain

band-aid-1135397_1280There are some industries that just use the pain of fear of loss as a driver to make a sale, think of insurance or hair loss. The advertising copy highlights the pain, rubs salt into the wound by describing the loss or creating a dark picture, for it to be relieved by providing a solution or plaster.

To my mind it is cynical and part of the darker side of the marketing industry. It is unnecessary as there are deeper and more positive points of different that can make our customers feel good about themselves and the business which is bringing it to their attention.

The Ten Point Exercise 

There are many processes that can be used to find your avatar, start with your customer list, what do you know about them.

So here is the exercise, these ten questions have been taken from the master of the process Dan Kenedy and his ultimate sales letter.  While highly gifted in his writing copy he was good at finding pain and making it hurt.  Without holding that against him, the 10 point exercise below is a good tool to work through and define your avatar.

If your business is broad you can have a few  Avatars but more than six  can be difficult use.

The point is with a well-developed avatar you focus your advertising on that person, making it clear in the copy that you are talking to them.  While this excludes some people, it makes the subject feel very welcome creating a bond or synergy.

To give an example of how it might help. We are looking for points of difference that allow potential customers to align with your business.

They may be animal or sports lovers; they may be politically motivated; they could be divorced, and over 50, they may follow popular media like soap operas.  They could play golf or like outdoor pursuits.

The first point of contact with any media is the headline; this is the line of text the tells that it is for them. So when they see a headline that says. ” How to find love in your  50s”. That will attract the older person to a dating site.  The most famous headline for golf training was.

“Amazing Secret Discovered by One-Legged Golfer Adds 50 Yards to Your Drives…”

If you play golf, you will want to know how. I suggest you google it.

So here is the list


1. What keeps them awake at night, indigestion boiling up their esophagus, eyes open, staring at the ceiling?
2. What are they afraid of?

3. What are they angry about? Who are they angry at?

4. What are their top three daily frustrations?

5. What trends are occurring and will occur in their businesses or lives?

6. What do they secretly, ardently desire most?

7. Is there a built-in bias to the way they make decisions? (Example: engineers = exceptionally analytical)

8. Do they have their own language?

9. Who else is selling something similar to them, and how?

10. Who else has tried selling them something similar, and how has that effort failed?

The above process will uncover a story or persona that is the guide for your writing and attracts the right people into your world.