If you have not yet created buyer personas to support your marketing planning, tsk tsk. Consider yourself also chastised if you have personas but don’t actually use them. Make this a priority for 2015: create a buyer persona for each of your key audience segments. We’ll give you a head start, with some insight here on the key components that go into a great buyer persona.
Each persona is like a guide who will direct you toward the marketing content, formats and delivery channels your most important targets are using. Without that help, you risk wasting time and money wandering around in the vastness of the online marketplace, hoping you’ll run into a viable prospect.
So let’s get to it. These components will help you “flesh out” your personas, though some details are more or less important depending on your industry and whether you’re a B2C o B2B marketer.
The key ingredients here are geographic location, age, gender, income and (possibly) ethnicity. Details such as marital status or children may be important in some cases, but don’t get carried away. The type of cereal they eat or whether they own a dog named Smarty Pants is irrelevant, unless that pertains to your business.
Lifestyle (or workstyle)
For B2Bs: What kind of company do they work for? Job title/area of responsibility? Where are they on the continuum of decision-making authority? How familiar are they with your company and your products or services?
For B2Cs: What kind of car do they drive? What do they do for fun? Where do they hang out?
Are they competitive? Methodical? Spontaneous? People-oriented? Do they make decisions quickly or deliberately? Are they logical or emotional?
What motivates them? Do they want to look better? Look good in front of their boss? Save time or money? What would make your services or products a must-have for them?
What challenges do they face and how does that make them feel? How can you help overcome challenges or resolve problems to make their daily life or work day better? Be as specific as you can -- this is critical to develop marketing content.
Do they search online? Read magazines or newspapers? Talk to people in person? Look to their social networks? Which of these do they trust most? What is their favorite learning style – reading, listening, watching? Just as knowing their goals, pain points and challenges help create targeted content, answers to these questions tell you which platforms and formats to use.
What are their most frequent objections or concerns regarding your products or services? What do they dislike about your competitors that would make them switch to you?
Give your persona a name – Purchasing Agent Pete – and find a stock photo to give them a face. This sounds silly, but it helps a lot to visualize a “real” person as you’re planning your marketing.
Key marketing message
In one or two sentences, summarize how you company helps your buyer persona alleviate their pain points and meet their goals.
How do you find the answers to all these questions?
- Ask your current customers.
- Study your website and social media analytics.
- Compare notes with your co-workers on the front lines: salespeople, customer service reps, and field marketing employees.
- Build lists of people who match your most ideal customers and interview them (consider getting help from a market research firm to do this.)
A buyer persona is a living thing
Things change over time. The range of products or services you offer will change and, being people, your target audience will change some, too. You may even add or eliminate a key marketing segment. So keep your personas relevant by periodically reviewing and updating them. This will also keep them top-of-mind for your marketing and sales folks. After all, your personas can’t guide you if you don’t “listen” to them.