Why it Matters: Developing Buyer Personas for Your Business
Every business has buyers, whether you are marketing to another business or a consumer, your product or service has a buyer. In today’s complex environment, defining your buyer persona is even more important than ever. Your buyer persona should influence all of your customer-facing work.
What exactly is a buyer persona you ask? A buyer persona is defined as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers”.
In the old days, there were a handful of ways to sell your product or service to a buyer.
- Paper mail
- Newspaper and magazine ads
- Word of mouth
- Phone calls
In 2018, you can continue to use these methods but honestly, the internet in all its forms is the real driver behind marketing your product or service. Every day, it seems like a new internet channel pops up that gives you an additional way to communicate about your company’s offerings. What’s more, there are continual updates to existing channels that change how people use them. Understanding your buyers and their behavior will make the difference between business success or treading water.
Established companies and new companies alike need buyer personas. Even if you’ve been in business for many years, your target customer can change over time. Developing and maintaining your set of buyer personas helps you to focus on the customers and areas of business that matter most.
So…how many personas should you develop? Conventional wisdom says 2 -3 personas are ideal. How do you get to that short list? Start by brainstorming! What do we know about our customers off the top of our heads? How would we describe them? Then it’s time to validate your brainstorm list using actual data you’ve collected. What data can you use?
- Internal CRM data
- Survey data
- Sales data
- Basically, anything you have on hand that gives you a picture of your customers
From there, it’s time to pick the persona winners. Naturally more than 2 or 3 personas will be applicable buyers of your product or service. But by drawing your focus and doing an exceptional job of marketing to 2 or 3 personas, you will do a better job of creating a voice for your brand and resonating with all buyers. Once you’ve selected the two or three personas you’ll develop, give them a name and face. It will bring your persona to life.
With a name and face selected, what other pieces are there to the persona puzzle?
- Background – age, family status, education
- Job role – title, reporting structure, goals
- Organization – company type and size
- Learning – how does this learn/find information
- Tools – what tools does the persona use to get their job done
With your personas completed, use them to:
- Decide where to spend your marketing dollars
- Select the types of content to write or promote
- Write copy on your website
- Develop case studies and customer testimonials
- Which content formats to use – blogs, email newsletters, whitepapers, eBooks
- Which channels to use for content promotion
- Develop new products and service
- Select which channels to use when marketing your company
- Design, redesign or refresh your website design
- Understand how to brand or rebrand your business
At Bracken Marketing we’ve taken our own advice! After recently completed a customer survey in the pharma, pharma services, and pharma IT services segments, we’ve taken what learned from the survey and mixed it with additional internal data to create three buyer personas. The personas we developed cover the three major client types we serve.
Want to know more about how to create your own personas? Download our guide with persona creation templated here.
Now that you know the all about personas, it’s time to create your own!