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Buyer Personas – Everything You Need to Know

Nadia Ozeri, September 22, 2021

What is a buyer persona?

The buyer persona is a detailed description of an audience representative of your target market. This is not a real customer, but a fictional person who represents your best potential customers. They are based on information that you can gather through your own research or your own data. This information should be focused on the type of habits and factors that make your customers take advantage of your products or services.

There may be several buyer personas needed because different groups of people might buy your products for different reasons. It is impossible for a company to know every client or prospect personally, but you can create customer personas to represent each segment of your customer base.

Why is it important?

Using buyer personas can help you understand the customer’s journey in detail and tailor your marketing and communication efforts accordingly. You can tailor marketing messages specifically for your buyer persona and guide the voice of your brand.

It is helpful to create personas to figure out how your customers start their journey, where they start researching your business, at what point they consider your service or product, and how they finally convert. As you gain a complete understanding of your customers’ shopping and research experiences, you’ll be able to start improving the user experience of your business or improving your ROI.

A fully formed buyer persona will also serve you well in other business areas. You are able to inform a product team when you have fully formed buyer personas and you know everything about their habits, their interests and what they typically do online. The information is likely to be  very helpful when building products, tailoring products, and of course when providing services.

How to create a buyer persona?

When you segment your customers into two or three distinct personas, you can focus your efforts accordingly. By tailoring it in different ways, you are more likely to target the customers who will convert. You might want to also create negative buyer personas to help you exclude them or reduce the efforts you put into converting them.

Analyze your existing customers’ data and conduct thorough audience research. Real-world data should drive your buyer personas, not just intuition. When researching information, you should start by asking broader questions. Find out what devices your buyer uses, such as mobile, desktop, or television.

Are video or podcasts their preferred online media, or do they prefer reading blogs? Do they interact with particular formats, what are their interests, are they sports fans, do they like food? Find out their age, location, language, spending patterns, interests, challenges, pain points, and stage of life.

A B2B company should consider the size of its business, decision making unit: are you targeting the CEO? the CTO? the social marketing manager?

Identifying customer goals or aspirations are positive things they want to achieve. Those goals might be personal or professional, depending on the kinds of products and services you sell. What motivates your customers? What’s their end game? These goals might be directly related to solutions you can provide, but they don’t have to be. This is more about getting to know your customers than it is trying to match customers exactly to features or benefits of your product.

Gather all of your research and start looking for common characteristics. As you group those characteristics together, you’ll have the basis of your unique customer personas.

Let’s say you identify a core customer group of fathers in their 30s who live in big cities, like to camp, and own motorcycles. Great—now it’s time to take this abstract collection of characteristics and turn them into a persona that you can identify with and speak to.

How to use personas?

You should give the buyer persona a name, job title, home, and other defining characteristics. Make your persona seem like a real person. Identifying characteristics alone does not define a persona. You create a persona by thinking about a realistic description of a typical customer from your target market. The people in this customer group may not all have the same characteristics as your persona. Personas allow you to think about a group of customers in a human way rather than as a collection of data points.

From the very first contact, identify prospects based on their personas. Developing techniques for classifying prospects based on buyer personas makes them more effective for you. In that way, you can tailor everything from your pitch to your marketing materials as closely as possible to the prospect you’re working with.

Customize marketing funnels based on different personas. Knowing your buyer personas allows you to speak to them in a way that’s likely to resonate with their specific wants and needs. And since each buyer persona likely has a preferred mode of communication, you can use this to create specific marketing funnels for each type of person you’re looking to convert into a customer.

 

Nadia Ozeri is Director of Buy Side at Total Media and an expert in connecting advertisers to ad technologies. Find Nadia on LinkedIn or reach her by email at nadia(at)totalmediasolutions(dot)com.