Marketing honours students harness the power of avatars to enhance digital marketing

Posted on April 03, 2023

The digital marketing world is booming and forms an essential part of any organisation’s marketing strategy in today’s business environment. With the ever-increasing growth of social media and e-commerce, companies are increasingly using digital marketing strategies to reach a larger audience and promote their products and services. Due to this, digital marketing forms an essential component of the Marketing in Practice module, which is included in the BCom Marketing Management honours degree programme at the University of Pretoria.

In 2022, the honours students had the privilege of learning about digital marketing from Ms Michelle du Plessis, a successful online business entrepreneur, who also holds a masters’ degree in Marketing Management from the University of Pretoria. Ms Du Plessis is not only the founder of Macaroon Collection, a premium lifestyle online boutique, but also an e-commerce and digital marketing consultant, a Meta certified digital marketing associate, and Google certified. The students were not only taught about the basic principles of digital marketing, but were also exposed to real-life case studies. Furthermore, the students were given opportunities to practically design digital marketing strategies, campaigns and content for South African organisations.

It is important that organisations understand who their online customers are to be able to meet their wants and needs, as well as to ensure that they communicate effectively with these consumers when executing a marketing campaign. As companies look for new and innovative ways to connect with consumers online, avatars have become an increasingly popular tool within the world of digital marketing. An avatar is a digital representation of a person or brand, used to create a more personalised experience for customers. Avatars can take many forms, from cartoon characters to lifelike representations, and are used in a variety of ways to enhance the customer experience.

Avatars are becoming increasingly important, as they are beneficial in providing a more personalised customer experience, which can lead to increased engagement and higher conversion rates. They can also be used to gather data on customer preferences and behaviour, allowing companies to tailor their marketing efforts to better meet their customers' needs. Using Macaroon Collection as a case study, the students gained practical experience on how to creatively assess customer avatars and profile them.

Using various avatars which could be appropriate for Macaroon Collection, the students were required to assess the demographic profile of a typical customer avatar, provide visual images of look-alike customer avatars, and discuss representative characteristics. An analysis was conducted considering what these avatars could be buying, where they would be buying this from, what events they might be interested in, as well as what blogs and/or magazines they typically read. The social media engagement strategies of these avatars were also considered, paying particular attention to their engagement habits, identifying various Instagram or Facebook pages they would typically follow, and various hashtags that could be used to target this avatar.

Macaroon Collection is a premium lifestyle online boutique and sells items such as premium leather handbags, travel bags, footwear and a range of other fashion items. Below is simply a taste of the consumer personas that were presented for five different market segments, namely The Travelling Sisterhood, The “stay-at-home” Mom, The Boss Lady, The City Guy, and The Adventurous Man.

The Travelling Sisterhood 


The Boss Lady


The “stay-at-home” Mom

The City Guy 



The Adventurous Man



This assignment is just one example of the Marketing Management honours programme's commitment to providing students with the practical skills and experience needed to succeed in the competitive world of digital marketing.

- Author Department of Marketing Management

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