(and why should we care about them)
‘Buyer personas’ is a term that gets bounced around a lot in marketing and within business and sales strategy teams, but what we find is that people are often not clear on what they actually are, and more importantly how to use them when they are completed.
So here’s a helping hand…
What is a buyer persona?
It’s a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on real data about your existing customers and market research of your target audience.
It’s very unlikely you will have just one buyer persona because your product or service is likely to appeal to multiple people for different reasons. For example: a toy shop has at least 3 buyer personas they need to target – children, parents, grandparents… you could even split these down further into gender too. You’re probably thinking, children aren’t buyers… BUT you need to think about who you need buy-in from, and when little Bobby doesn’t stop talking about the train he’s seen to his parents, it’s guaranteed to be on his Christmas list.
How do you build a buyer persona?
You need to think about who they are, where they live, age, gender, interests, what they care about (this will help with message and pain points to use in your marketing). Most importantly, you need to treat every buyer persona differently even if they seem similar.
For us, as a marketing company we mainly target business owners (we could also appeal to small marketing teams too) but let’s focus on business owners for now.
We could be lazy and just target business owners in general, but the smart way to build buyer personas is to break them down:
- Start-up business
- Sole Trader
- Business under 5 years old
- Business heading towards 10 years
These can be split into B2B or B2C, they could also split down into different sizes (revenue/number employees), and industry which of course creates multiple personas… so as you can see we are looking at between 15-100 personas (maybe more) for our marketing business.
I know what you’re thinking:
- That seems like a lot of work
- I wouldn’t even know where to start
- I have not got time to do this work
It’s important to recognise that building buyer personas is not a task you add to your list and expect to complete in one day. It’s an ongoing task you complete as you gain new customers and learn about them. It’s also a tool you use when you plan your campaigns to get the right message in front of the right people (more about this below).
So if you’re reading this feeling a little overwhelmed, stay with us. When you read the last section, the penny will drop on the importance of this exercise and you won’t regret it.
If you want to look at an example of what a buyer persona would look like, you can view one here.
If you would like to get the Word version of our Persona form, please contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org