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Buyer Personas: What They Are and What to Include

Posted by Emily Dumas on Wed Sep 25, 2019 08:15 AM

The average person is exposed to about 5,000 marketing messages per day. That is to say, for a marketing campaign to be successful, it will have to really resonate with consumers for them to consider making a purchase. 

Creating a buyer persona is essential for every business. It helps position a business’s services or products as relevant and worthy of consideration by their target market. Moreover, with a buyer persona, businesses gain deeper insight into their customers’ buying behavior, which is crucial in acquiring and retaining great customers. 

This insight delivers to your marketing, sales, and product teams a wealth of actionable information – both direct and indirect – as the personas:

  • help shape your messaging
  • focus your marketing activities
  • guide product development
  • educate you about your competition
  • improve your pricing strategies
  • enhance your relationship-management activities
  • … and a lot more

Now, how do you create accurate buyer personas that will produce desirable results?

Building Your Personas

Creating a buyer persona profile involves writing down everything you know about your ideal customers, in a profile. To do this, you will need to split your customers’ characteristics, as gathered from your research. This goes a long way in helping you create defined personas so that you can design marketing campaigns to attract certain types of customers

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When creating the templates, you may consider taking it a notch higher by adding a photo to represent your target customer. Adding a photo creates a concrete and realistic character that your business can use to connect better with your target customers. The exercise of building personas generally involves qualitative feedback and quantitative research comprising the following buckets:

  • Gathering verbatim external insights through interviews with current and potential customers, surveys, and focus groups.
  • Validating - or invalidating - internal insights. The sales or customer success teams may think they know the clients best. Persona research allows you to confirm or support their assertions.
  • Data crunching. Assessing various analytics and behavior to help understand who your customers and prospects are and what’s important to them. Look at demographics such as role but also behaviors such as content downloads.

What to Include in a Buyer Persona

Demographics 

To create realistic buyer personas, you need to first gather the basics. You can start by looking into your current customer base and analyzing who are your best and repeat customers. For this, you can make use of marketing analytics tools to see customers who frequently interact with your brand and product usage tools to see customers who are most active with your solutions. Once you have narrowed down to your best customers, underline any commonalities among them such as age, gender, income, and other demographics. Narrowing them down will help you create a more streamlined buyer persona aimed at attracting more great customers. 

You can do a similar analysis of non-customers within your target market to ensure you’re getting an accurate, unbiased, view of your target personas. And it can be helpful to research customers who have had a bad experience with your company, to help you learn the type of customers who are not a fit for your product or service. You may consider making use of email surveys, as well as interviews, as a way of gathering information from your current and target customers. 

Customers’ Goals and Pain Points 

A persona profile should also include your customers’ goals, challenges, and motivations in their day-to-day roles. This, in turn, helps you craft product solutions to address these pain points, craft targeted marketing campaigns that resonate, and help sales speak knowledgeably and empathetically with target customers.

For instance, say your customer’s pain point is that they struggle to get visibility into their internal cost reporting. Understanding this pain point, you can promote your cost reporting functionality on your website, in the sales process, and build out this functionality further in the product.

In addition to speaking directly with customers, one of the best ways to identify your customer’s goals and pain points is by checking in with your customer service and sales teams. Find out from them what kind of questions they get most from customers and prospects and then prioritize the goals and pain points to address in your buyer personas. 

Your Product Benefits 

Having understood your customers’ goals and challenges, you have to determine how your product or service can help. For this, you will have to think beyond the features of your products and focus on the benefits you offer to customers. 

A feature is what your product does while a benefit is how your products make life easier for customers using them. Within the persona profile, outline the benefits that matter most to that specific persona to highlight how your solution addresses their challenges.

Pulling it All Together

A completed buyer persona is a short and sweet profile of your ideal buyer. It includes demographic information to provide context and make the personas feel real. It also includes the persona’s goals and challenges, as well as how your product addresses those goals and challenges. When done well, buyer personas enable every team across the organization - product, sales, marketing, and customer success - understand who the ideal customers are, where they’re coming from, and how best to solve for their success.

Competitive Intelligence for Product Marketing

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