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What is Anti-Persona?

Your anti-persona is the type of customer that is never satisfied, returns everything, and tells all their friends how terrible you are.

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In marketing, there's a lot of talk about buyer personas in the sales funnel. But what about anti-personas? Just as a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, an anti persona is a semi-fictional representation of your worst nightmare customer. Keep reading to learn everything you need about anti-personas, including how to create one and why they're so important.

What Is An Anti Persona? 

Consider your ideal customer. They're always happy with your product, never need to return anything, and tell all their friends about how great you are. Now, consider the opposite. This is your anti-persona.

branding an anti-persona

Your anti-persona is the type of customer that is never satisfied, returns everything, and tells all their friends how terrible you are. Why would you want to think about such a customer? Because by understanding your anti-persona, you can better understand how to avoid them.

What Is The Difference Between Customer Personas and Anti Personas?

difference of marketing personas and anti-personas

An anti-persona is a fictional character that represents your ideal negative customer. Sounds confusing, we know. So let’s break it down with an example. 

Let’s say you’re a B2B company that provides lead generation software to small businesses. Your target persona is “Susie the Solopreneur,” who owns a small business with 1-5 employees. Susie is always short on time and money, so she’s always looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. 

Your anti-persona would be the polar opposite of Susie. Let’s call her “Beth the Bureaucrat.” Beth works for a large company with lots of red tape and bureaucracy. She’s risk-averse and always has to get a sign-off from her boss before making any decisions. Even if she could save time and money using your software, she probably never will because she doesn’t want to rock the boat at work. 

Why Is Anti Persona Important? 

Now that we’ve answered the question, “What is an anti-persona?” it’s time to answer the next logical question: “Why are they important?” 

Anti Persona Increases Your Company's Transparency

The first reason anti-personas are important is that they increase your company’s transparency. To create a good anti-persona, you need to be honest about your business’s strengths and weaknesses. This exercise forces you to take a step back and look at your business objectively. And that’s a good thing!

Too often, companies get so caught up in their day-to-day operations that they forget to step back and assess their business as a whole. By taking the time to create an anti-persona, you’re ensuring that your company is always moving forward and making progress.

Anti Persona Helps You Focus on Your Ideal Customer

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to please everyone, but the truth is, you can’t make everyone happy. And that’s okay!

Creating an anti-persona will help you focus on your ideal customer. After all, if your goal is to avoid Beth the Bureaucrat, you can make sure that your marketing, sales, and product teams are laser-focused on Susie the Solopreneur.

This exercise will also help you identify any areas of your business that might appeal to Beth the Bureaucrat. For example, if your lead generation software is too complex, Beth might be interested in using it. But Beth will probably lose interest if you focus on making your software Susie-friendly.

Anti Persona Gets Rid Of Misconceptions

If you’re like most companies, you probably have preconceived notions about your customers. But these assumptions can be dangerous! Your customer base is always evolving, and your initial assumptions might not reflect reality. Creating an anti-persona will help you eliminate any misconceptions you might have about your customers.

Anti Persona Helps You Create Targeted Content

It's always difficult to know exactly who your target audience is. Sure, you have a general idea - men, women, 18-35, etc. - but that doesn't give you much to work with when creating content. This is where anti-personas come in.

By identifying the characteristics of your anti persona, you can get a better idea of who your target customer is and what they're looking for. This, in turn, allows you to create specifically designed content for them. And when your content is targeted, it's more likely to resonate with your audience and convert them into customers.

Anti Persona Identifies Which Channels You Should Use

When trying to reach your target audience, using the right channels is important. But with so many options - social media, email marketing, paid ads, etc. - it can be difficult to know where to start. By understanding your anti-persona's needs, wants, and pain points, you can identify which channels will most effectively reach them and avoid content going into the wrong hands.

How Are They Used?

It's common for businesses to focus on a specific target market or demographic. After all, it doesn't make sense to try and cater to everyone - it's much more effective to focus on those most likely to need or want your product or service. This can sometimes lead to problems. Some customers may fall outside of your target market but consume your content and even go on to make a purchase.

However, a lack of alignment between the customer and the brand can lead to mismatched expectations and negative reviews and complaints. This is why it's important to consider your anti-persona - who are those customers you don't necessarily want to attract but who might still end up using your product?

If you can anticipate their needs and concerns, you can help to avoid any unpleasant surprises further down the line. Being proactive can help create a better customer experience for everyone involved.

Examples of Anti Persona Campaigns

An anti-persona campaign is designed to target people who don't fit the usual profile of your target customer. By their very nature, these campaigns are often disruptive, attention-grabbing, and unexpected. They can be extremely effective at driving engagement and generating leads if executed correctly. 

Not sure what an anti persona campaign looks like in action? Here are two examples to inspire your next targeted marketing strategy.

best brand anti-persona campaigns like ibm and apple


IBM has been running anti-persona campaigns for years, most notably their "Smarter Planet" initiative, which began in 2008. The initiative was designed to show how IBM's technology could be used to solve some of the world's most pressing problems—everything from traffic congestion to food shortages. 

IBM's Smarter Planet campaigns were highly successful, raising awareness about the company and positioning it as a cutting-edge technology leader. Over the years, the initiative has expanded to include dozens of countries worldwide. 

Apple Inc

One of Apple's most famous anti persona campaigns was their "Get a Mac" ad campaign which ran from 2006 to 2009. The ads featured two actors playing Mac and PC— with Mac being the cool, laid-back guy and PC being the stuffy corporate type. 

By positioning Macs as hip and PCs as stodgy, Apple could appeal to a younger demographic whose products might have otherwise turned off. The ad campaign was hugely successful, increasing Apple sales across all product categories. 

Tips To Create A Successful Anti Persona Strategy

Now that you're aware of what anti-persona is and how it can be used, it's time to start thinking about how you can create a successful strategy. Here are a few tips to get you started.

a successful anti-persona in marketing

Get Clear About Your Target Audience

Before you can create an effective anti-persona campaign, you need to do your homework. This means understanding your target audience inside and out—their needs, wants, pain points, and anything else that might be relevant. Only when you have a clear picture can you start to think about who your anti-persona might be.

Build Your Persona

Once you understand your target market well, it's time to start thinking about who your anti-persona might be. This can be anyone who falls outside your target market but might still use your product. Consider their needs, wants, and pain points. What are their goals? How do they like to consume content?

Create Your Customer Journey

Create compelling content that speaks to your anti-persona's specific needs and concerns. This valuable content should be designed to take them on a journey from awareness to interest to purchase. Along the way, you should consider what might trigger them to take action and cause them to lose interest.

Discover Your Brand Message

What is it that sets your brand apart from the competition? This is your unique selling proposition; you must communicate it clearly in your anti-persona campaign. Your message should be attention-grabbing and memorable, making it easy for people to understand what you do and why you're different.

Get Help From Professionals

Not sure where to start? Don't worry—plenty of professionals can help you create an effective anti-persona campaign. From market research to content creation, they'll make sure your strategy is on point and helps you achieve your desired results.

Measure Your Results

Once you've launched your anti-persona campaign, monitoring its performance and making adjustments as needed is important. This will help you fine-tune your strategy and ensure it's as effective as possible.

Try Out An Anti-Persona Strategy For Your Business Today!

The bottom line is this: don't just focus on bringing new potential customers in the door. Make sure you're also thinking about why some people might not be interested in what you're selling. By understanding your anti-personas, you can adjust your marketing strategy accordingly, ensure you're doing everything possible to reach your target customers, and create marketing messages that resonate with them!

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