7 things you need to know about buyer personas
Michael is a white, middle-aged vice president at a family-owned trucking company with more than 175 trucks in its fleet. His pain points include regulations, labor, technology and economic conditions in the market. Always seeking to improve and grow the company, Michael’s strong sense of market conditions informs the decisions he makes, especially when it comes to purchasing new or used equipment.
Michael is also not an actual person. He’s a carefully crafted buyer persona.
Taking into account several characteristics about your customers, such as the content they engage with the most, their demographic information, their pain points and interests as well as any motivations, goals and challenges helps your company establish an impactful marketing messaging that increases sales growth, lead generation and customer retention. These insights can also help guide product development. Buyer personas are crafted with a combination of data from real customers and market research on ideal prospects, such as proprietary data, surveys and interviews.
Here are seven things you need to know about buyer personas.
1. It’s a mix of fiction and reality
A buyer persona is based on your real, current customers and your most ideal prospects. Your research sheds light on your high-value buyers and their demographic details. This information provides insight about who you already attract and who else you should begin marketing to. Each persona is meant to match key details and relevant content with each customer you hope to gain or keep satisfied. Your company may also do a segmentation first to determine which buyers are of the highest and lowest value to them and use that information to help create the buyer personas.
2. Turn a list of characteristics into a real person
Develop an actual character. Give them a name, an age, an occupation, a goal and more. A personification is easier to market to than a list of arbitrary characteristics. Doing so is an excellent way to streamline your marketing by creating the perfect single person to market to.
3. You can have more than a few
The number of buyer personas you create should be guided by the actual diversity within your target audience. If you serve multiple industries or submarkets, consider creating a few buyer personas for each one. However, it’s also important to limit your personas. If you try to reach everyone, you may not be as effective among your high-value personas.
4. You can make extra use of your research
Understanding your audience does more than help you create buyer personas. It also illuminates the strengths and weaknesses of your company. A customer survey can serve as buyer persona research and a customer satisfaction assessment. Not only can you improve for your best customers, but you can make sure you have a strong start with your new ones.
5. Proprietary data can help you narrow down your opportunities
Like customer surveys, proprietary data can serve multiple purposes. Use Randall-Reilly’s EDA to extract information about your personas, estimate their value, assess your competitor’s customers to exclude those who are most loyal, focus on swayable prospects and analyze any gaps in the market that you may be able to fill.
6. Look at it from the buyer’s perspective
Include research that focuses on a buyer’s motivations, goals and challenges. Aim to understand what problems they have to solve, obstacles they need to overcome and benefits they seek to gain. Surveys and interviews should also address the “why,” so you gain a deeper understanding of how your company can help them.
7. They don’t always have to be about your ideal customer
Negative buyer personas help you determine which leads are less likely to convert and which customers are less loyal to your brand. These personas can be researched in the same manner as positive ones, but the data is collected from a different set of buyers. Analyze those unsatisfied with your brand and who prefer your competitors to determine when you can compete and when a prospect’s potential is too low to invest in converting them.
Buyer personas are an efficient way to streamline your marketing strategy and ensure your resources and time are invested in the most ideal buyers. Each persona takes research and some nuance to craft, but the results are well worth it.