It’s impossible to position your product or service to meet customers’ needs without knowing who they are. Intelligent marketers and business strategists know the key to high conversion — regardless of the type of media — is a set of clearly-defined customer (or buyer/marketing) personas. Do you have an accurate idea of your ideal customer? Do you deeply understand their pain points, aspirations, daily routines, and definitions of success? Does this information drive every facet of your marketing, sales, product, and service strategies? If you answered yes to all three questions, you can go ahead and skip this article. You’re good to go. If you answered no to at least one, please proceed. You’re in the right place.
So, first of all, what is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your company’s ideal customer. Personas provide a crystal clear picture of key individuals who possess the power to influence or execute buying decisions. Your organization’s product or service offering may warrant more than one persona. You may also have personas that influence various stages of the buyer’s journey. Regardless of the quantity or level of influence, it’s important that these avatars are founded on extensive research and represent real-life customers.
Why is it important to map your strategy to a set of buyer personas?
Buyer personas provide direction for every customer-focused facet of an organization (and just in case you were wondering, every facet of an organization should be customer-focused. If it doesn’t support or benefit the customer, it’s a waste.) Considering your customer prior to developing content ensures that the end result is valuable to your target audience. Considering your customer prior to developing a new product ensures that the end result is desirable to your market. Considering your customer prior to launching a new internal program ensures that the end result promotes beneficial employee behaviors that drive results for your stakeholders. Do you see the trend? Personas drive value at every level and create efficiency within your strategy.
I get it. They’re important. Now, how do I create one?
Research. Gather as much information as you can from as many relevant sources as possible — customer surveys; interviews with customers, vendors, employees, and stakeholders; online research, whatever you can get your hands on. The important component of persona development is to make sure you’re asking the right questions. To make this as easy as possible, I’ve compiled a comprehensive list of every question you might ever want to ask. The list is broken down into categories, so you can choose which sections are most relevant to your research. (I’ve listed over 130 questions here. Ideally, you need to only ask about 30. Too many and your participants will get tired and become unresponsive.)
Additionally, there are several practical methods for gathering information. This includes:
- Reviewing your contact database to explore trends in particular groupings of customers
- Tailoring form fields on your website that capture persona information
- Meeting with your sales team regularly to determine what leads they find more valuable.
Now that you’ve compiled a mountain of relevant and insightful information about the key individuals most interested in your products and/or services, it’s time to whittle it into something a bit more manageable. Start by identifying patterns and commonalities in the research to create one core persona. From there, you can begin building a set to accommodate your unique offering. There are many tools and templates available on the web to assist you with this. Alternatively, if you’re pressed for time and looking for a comprehensive, customizable, and efficient solution, there are experts to assist you with persona development (Feel free to contact me for additional information).
Below is a summary of the types of information you may want to include in your persona development:
(Name them something memorable like Procurement Pete or Marketing Mary)
- Value Proposition (of your business in the eyes of the customer)
- Common Objections (to buying/utilizing your product)
- Marketing Message
- Elevator Pitch
Use this information to guide your persona development and strengthen your market strategy. Shoot me an email for more information on persona development or questions about how to get started.
We would like to thank Whitney Lane for this post, Click Here to check out her website!