HOW TO DEFINE A BUYER’S PERSONA
The success of sales and marketing is mainly dependent on how well a business understands its customers. It’s not necessarily the brands with the best products or services that win the day. Instead, it’s the businesses that can answer critical questions about their audience that flourish. The answers to these questions will help them create the right products and offers for their audiences, messages, and sales pitches that resonate with them. These answers make up a buyer’s persona.
What’s a Buyer’s Persona?
A buyer persona is a comprehensive description of your ideal customer. The keyword here being “comprehensive.” Buyer personas aren’t slipshod, or shallow one-liners like “we sell to small businesses” or “our customers are millennials who love chips and hate their jobs.” Instead, these descriptions are built painstakingly based on in-depth research.
What’s more, buyer personas cover every detail about your ideal customers that could influence their buying decisions. And if you think about it, that’s a whole lot of details. You’re looking at factors like your audience’s goals, motivation, pain points, buying habits, preferences, and many other nuances.
The question on your mind now is likely to be, “where do I even start from?” Luckily, we have answers.
3 Steps in Defining Buyer Personas
Research your Audience
The Japanese phrase “genchi gembutsu” is one of Toyota’s core values. Loosely translated, it means “go and see for yourself.” It’s an admonition not to base any conclusion on assumptions. Instead, Toyota employees are encouraged to step out, head into the field, and get a firsthand observation of every situation. If you ask us, this is a core value every business should adopt, especially when dealing with customers.
In creating your buyer persona, genchi genbutsu would mean you’d have to make conscious attempts to understand those your business serves. You’d be looking to put away hearsays and go see for yourself. Your research should reveal primary details like your ideal customer’s age, gender, location, preferred social channels, spending power, education level, and job title.
Then you move on to uncover your target customers’ pain points, motivation, and goals. Look to answer questions like “what problems are they looking to solve?” “What value does your product or service offer them (from their perspective!)?” You’re simply trying to identify their hot buttons or triggers so you can connect with them better.
Finding out these things isn’t as difficult as cultivating the desire to learn them. For instance, if you play your cards right, you can always interview current customers or prospects or send them surveys to fill. Social listening is also another excellent tool for audience research.
Identify Common Details
Once you’ve collected your data, the next step is to find the most occurring details in each data category. For example, you could find that your target audience includes mainly middle-aged executives. Or that the most common problem your service solves is to help is to generate more leads for marketing managers. It’s these details that will make up your buyer persona.
Note that it’s not uncommon to find multiple recurring details in each data category. This means your audience is split into different segments, and you’ll need to treat and target each one separately. In that case, you’d have to create your audience segments based on their similarities and label each group accordingly.
Create Your Personas
Having analyzed your data, develop your personas using the insights you have. Look into each data category and extract the most critical details. You can begin by creating a name (yes, that’s a thing) and then moving on to fill in the information peculiar to the group you’ve named. You might have something that reads like this:
Jonathan is a marketing manager for a medium-sized FMCG company located in Europe with 150 to 500 employees. He’s between 35 – 50 years old, married with kids, and lives a fairly luxurious lifestyle. Jonathan is a go-getter with an eye for detail and a knack for thoroughness. He’s analytical and likes to deal with cold, hard facts.
Jonathan’s primary roles include attracting more customers, improving brand equity, creating, and managing marketing campaigns. He’s a high risk-taker who isn’t afraid to invest new technology and practices to improve his team’s output. Jonathan’s biggest concern is justifying the huge marketing budget to his superior by hitting the customer acquisition quota for each quarter. To do this, he’s willing to invest heavily in digital marketing. And he’s looking to partner with a marketing agency with a proven track record of digital marketing success.
Jonathan likes to read blogs on industry news and top marketing strategies. He does this mostly on weekends with his smartphone. He’s also active on LinkedIn and engages with content he deems valuable.
It’s Worth It
The example above is what you might call a rough sketch. It’s an attempt to give a glimpse of how detailed you’d have to be while creating your buyer persona. The process is rigorous, but it promises you clarity and precision in your dealings with your customers. The kind that would leave your competitors wondering what hit them and your audience knocking on your doors.