Most all of us were taught in a marketing or business class, that it is always important to know who you are selling to, aiming for, and striving to reach. Those people can essentially make or break your business. We called them our “target audience” or “target market”, but hold onto your seats because there is a new method in town: “buyer personas”. Those two words define a whole new way to approach building and understanding your buyers and the people you want to attain. So what are these new fangled buyer personas, and how do I begin building them? Let’s take a look.
First of all, what is the difference between buyer personas and target audience? Well, it’s simple. With target audiences and markets, the spectrum is broad. For example, a target audience could be defined as an 18 to 24 year old woman living in urban areas with a college education. It’s relatively specific, but it still leaves many gaps and variables. A buyer persona is much more specific. In fact, the more detailed you are in building a buyer persona the better.
Building the Persona
Okay, so how do I begin to build one? First, think about all the types of customers your company appeals to. Then from there separate them into specific piles. For example, if your company sells to contractors, homeowners, retired handymen, those would be three completely separate buyer personas. Once you’ve identified your buyer groups, begin researching more into those demographics. For a homeowner, for example, you could find that they prefer two story homes with large backyards in the suburbs. They may work a standard 9 to 5 job and love watching football and soccer in their spare time. With buyer personas you want to build a story, a life around researched facts and fictional scenarios. It’s a mix of reality and make believe.
Here are some questions you can ask during your research.
· What is their demographic information?
· What is their job and level of seniority?
· What does a day in their life look like?
· What are their pain points?
· What do they value most? What are their goals?
· Where do they go for information?
· What are their most common objections to your product or service?
After your research, it’s time to build the story. Write the narrative and make it convincing and filled with tangible data. Doing this will allow all parts and people of your company to know who they are aiming for and alter their methods in order to do so. Buyer personas are like glue to the paper or in this case your company, it binds everything together and makes all marketing and product development consistent and cohesive because it is all aiming towards the developed personas; the final goal.
Going forward, it is important to note that these personas should drive all marketing, product development, sales, and media decisions made. They are your customers, your audience, your end-users, and essentially the people that keep you in business, so why not cater every whim within your business to them? It is no longer just convincing consumers that your business is better than your competitor, but rather that your business is better for their needs and desires. That is why these are so important for any and all businesses whether your are B2C or B2B, it doesn’t matter, because every company has a client or customer that are in need of your services.
So to wrap it all up, I have put an example buyer persona narrative below this text. Read it and try it out on your own. I think you will be surprised at how fun doing this can be because it’s like writing a story, building your business, and blossoming your imagination all in one.
Example Buyer Persona
Company: Eco Friendly Makeup
Products: Non-animal tested makeup and skin cleansers
Location: Midwest and Southeastern states
Buyer Persona: Mommy Megan
Megan is a married mother of three little girls, Valerie, Jessica, and Ava. All three are in their teens with the oldest, Valerie beginning college in the fall. Megan now has a lot of free time on her hands because her children are not in direct need of her care. She has her own vegetable garden and loves taking her chocolate lab, Benny, to the local dog park. She is an advocator for living sustainably and healthy. She has a degree in culinary arts, and is a freelance caterer in her spare time. Her day job is a dog caretaker at a local shelter. She has volunteered for many events including the cleanup of the BP oil spill and Hurricane Katrina. Being from southern Georgia and now living in northern Tennessee, her heart beats to the Southern drum. She wants to share her knowledge and love of animals, sustainability and organic foods. She is not a computer fanatic, so she often reads magazines and newspapers to retrieve her information. Her number one pet peeve about beauty products is that they are too harsh on the environment and body. She believes that all beauty is natural, thus the products we use should be too. However, even though she uses all natural products, the prices can be steep, so she sometimes has to go to products she doesn’t approve of entirely.