When building a marketing strategy, it is integral that you understand your target customer and their characteristics. This is where the buyer persona comes into play. When you truly understand your customers and their interests, it becomes easier to market your product to them and build a relationship.
What is the Value of a Good Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona helps you better understand your target audience by developing a semi-fictitious profile of your ideal consumer. You determine your ideal customer and assign details to this “person” to help demonstrate your consumer’s demographic, psychographic, geographic, and behavioral traits. Because all of these details are derived from extensive research, the elements of your persona are factual details about your audience. You’ve just rolled all the ideal characteristics into one “perfect” person your team can use as a reference point. In many cases, an organization may develop a few buyer personas to segment their target audience based on your products/services.
When everyone in the organization deeply understands the ideal customer, every department can work together more collaboratively to achieve marketing goals. This is because the buyer persona gives every department the same objective and target to focus on, using it as the ‘north star’ for campaigns.
Consider how the buyer persona can influence each department. Product development will have a better understanding of the target audience’s pain points and thus will be able to improve product benefits to satisfy the customers’ needs further. Finance will understand the target audience’s income and purchase behaviors to plan the product’s price point strategically. Customer service will understand the best way to communicate with the buyer, and the list goes on.
Buyer Personas & Marketing Strategy
Generally, the development of the buyer persona is led by the marketing department. Often, the marketing department is also the initiator for putting the newly developed buyer persona into effect. One of the primary benefits of a well-defined buyer persona is creating content and messaging that is more personalized to resonate with the target customer. The behavior and interests of the profile will also inform the marketing strategy to lead the consumer down the funnel and hit each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Creating a Buyer Persona
While the marketing team may lead the buyer persona development, each organization department must be brought into the process. By collaborating early, you will have organizational buy-in and a greater understanding of the consumer. With the right people at the table and a thorough research strategy, you’re prepared to develop a detailed buyer persona, ultimately leading to more significant sales.
1. Research the Audience
Your marketing strategy must include primary and secondary research to get a complete understanding of your audience. Primary research can consist of interviews, focus groups, and surveys. It’s best to use a mix of all methods to get a more comprehensive picture of your data.
- Focus groups allow brands to get in-depth feedback on a few pivotal questions from a small group of like-minded individuals.
- Conversely, interviews offer in-depth feedback from individuals responding one-on-one, so sometimes, responses can be more truthful and unbiased.
- Surveys help garner trend data through multiple-choice responses.
In addition to these primary research methods, brands can uncover data from the contacts database, responses submitted on the website, and customer service transcripts.
2. Develop the Characteristics
Once the research is complete, it’s time to write your persona. Because your brand is unique, your persona will be, too. But, there are four standard sections of any persona;
Demographic-based questions from your research can help you build out this section of the buyer persona. The data sources used include;
- Marital Status
Now, get a little more personal. With psychographics, you get to explore what motivates the buyer. Sometimes you can consider a framework like VALS to help you give a more precise analysis of the psychological traits of the persona. Psychographics can be broken out into a few data points;
- Interests and Hobbies
- Personality Traits
- Communication Preferences
- Pain Points/Challenges
This section is pretty straightforward. Where does your typical buyer live, and where do they shop? When defining the audience’s shopping practices, it’s also best to clarify preferred platforms (in-app purchases, online/website, in-store). Sometimes a region’s climate may be a factor to include on the profile.
IV. Behavioral Traits
Within this section, we learn a lot more about the purchase patterns of the audience. Consider if your target customer is an impulse buyer or someone that does a lot of research before deciding. Understanding this can help marketing teams consider media buys and retargeting initiatives.
Consider how digital savvy this buyer is. Is this persona a heavy mobile user, highly engaged in social media, and often making online purchases? Then you will want to detail their digital practices. Suppose your audience is older and hasn’t adopted as much dependence on the digital space. In that case, it will also be essential to articulate alternative avenues to gain the buyer’s attention and point-of-sale opportunities.
Then, look at how the buyer interacts with your brand specifically. Define usage rates and product benefits that resonate with the buyer. If possible, clarify the current status of the buyer’s awareness of your brand. Remember, the profile should convey what considerations they will make in their purchase decision process, what drives the first purchase, and what influences loyalty for repeat purchases.
Set Smart Goals
Some buyer personas even go one step further and help the brand define the SMART goal for the target audience. You can set a measurable and time-bound plan to help you recognize when you have achieved the intended outcome for this audience.
Maximizing Marketing Effectiveness
Ultimately, the buyer persona you create will help your team work towards a common goal and hone your marketing strategy. Your efforts will allow you to develop messages and tactics that resonate with your target audience. Over time, campaigns focused on this buyer persona will see improved reach, increased conversions, and greater brand loyalty.