If there’s one thing that flat out kills a marketing campaign it’s not understanding what the people you’re talking to specifically value. This is where buyer personas come in. Used properly, a buyer persona will give you the edge in making sure your beautifully constructed campaigns actually work!
Great! But what exactly is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers. Typically, you’ll have a number of different buyer personas representing the different types of customers you deal with. If you have different products or services, or you operate in very different markets, you might end up with a large number of different personas.
The crucial thing about developing buyer personas is that it forces you as a marketer to think about the things that matter to your buyers. What are their challenges and opportunities? What are they looking for? Where do you find them? What demographic information describes them?
By building up an accurate series of buyer personas you can start to think about what they are most likely to value in your product or service. You can start talking to them in a way they can relate to about how you are going to solve a problem they care enough about to be looking at what it is you have to offer.
Marketing campaigns that are highly specific will outperform marketing campaigns that are very general. Buyer personas are a key step in ensuring that this specificity is well targeted.
Simple or detailed buyer personas?
Depending on time, complexity and purpose, we’ll go with either a simpler Buyer Persona Grid or the more extensive Detailed Buyer Persona. They are both excellent in their own way.
Critically important to both approaches is that you use as much real-world research as possible:
Speak to actual customers (persona focus group)
Speak to prospects
Look at sales figures
Speak to your customer support and sales teams
Visit websites important to your perfect customers. What are they saying in comments and posts?
Wherever possible, don’t let persona development be a project completed just by in-house marketers and executives. That said, if you’re choosing between no buyer personas and ones you create on your own with your experience and intuition, then go for it! But do yourself a favour and revisit at a later stage when you have additional resources.
Buyer Persona Grid (a simpler approach)
We do this with certain clients during an onboarding workshop. The people in the room walk away not just knowing more about their customers but also much more about why some things they’ve been doing are working and some are not. Often, owners and executives are blown away by what they learn.
The process is simple. Work together to come up with a list of all the different types of groups that your product or service can help. If any groups are likely to behave similarly then merge them together. We’re looking for differences here. Once you’ve got it down to the 3-5 most important buyer groups you’re ready to go. Enter each group across the top of the grid below.
Then for each buyer group enter the most important factors in each cell. Finally, rate their importance to your overall success. Every time you create copy, consider running a campaign, change your website or take any action at all, check back to this grid. Is what you’re about to do likely to motivate or turn off your main buyer groups? If it’s likely to have no impact then move on and find something that will. You have finite resources, use them wisely and for the greatest impact!
Detailed Buyer Persona
This is essentially a much deeper dive than the grid. It takes an extra step in terms of trying to humanise the buyer and gives you additional information about who they are. Some of these areas are of more use for B2B campaigns and you should adapt this grid to your requirements.
Finally, don’t lock your personas up in the marketing department!
Once you’ve developed your buyer personas you’re ready to look at your existing and planned marketing campaigns with a laser-like focus. How effectively are they really targeting the types of customers you want to deal with?
But why stop there? Buyer personas are incredibly valuable for sales, customer service, product development and executive teams as well. If anyone in your organisation is about to make a decision which is going to impact your customers wouldn’t it always be best if they really understood who that person is?
Time to get cracking! Create or improve buyer personas for your organisation and start getting specific and effective with your marketing. If you need a hand, reach out and we’d be happy to give you one.
Want more Rocket Resources?
Get free digital resources and articles direct to your inbox to boost your business.