What is a buyer persona?
By Steven Bennett
A buyer persona, also known as a buyer avatar, is a semi-fictional representation of your business’s ideal customer. Ideally created from existing customer data and market research, a buyer persona can help you save time and money by giving you a distinct focal point on which you can dedicate your products, services, marketing, advertising and communications.
Rather than simply targeting the age, gender and location of potential customers, a typical buyer persona includes customer demographics plus factors such as their motivations, behaviours, interests and goals. This makes them extremely powerful as it provides you with the insights needed to tune into the driving factors behind your potential customer actions and decision making.
Can I have more than one buyer persona?
Yes, in fact it is highly recommended you do so. It is very rare for one buyer persona to represent the entire customer base of an organisation. Multiple buyer personas make it possible to focus your efforts, such as marketing campaigns, products or services, towards specific audiences.
It is also possible to create buyer personas for desired customers. For example, you may want to target a certain audience who behaves and thinks very differently to that of your existing customers. By creating a buyer persona for this new audience, you can establish a different angle of approach that works specifically for them.
Why bother with a buyer persona?
Creating a buyer persona allows you to tune into your ideal customers wants and needs. Their daily routine, the platforms they use, the activities they feel passionate about and many other factors that can be discovered, explored and implemented into the focus and strategies of your organisation. The more information you have within your byer persona, the better.
From these insights, your message and strategy can be crafted to appeal to the wants, needs and interests of your ideal customer. The tone of voice, visual styles and the platforms you use to connect with customers can then be accurately defined to save both time and money in your sales, and marketing efforts.
Isn’t creating a buyer persona just down to guesswork?
It is true that you can base your buyer persona(s) on what you believe your ideal customer is. However, this alone can often lead to poor results. By simply guessing who your customer is you are sure to miss out important information that could turn a mediocre buyer persona into a great one.
How do I create a buyer persona (In a nutshell)?
If you are lucky enough to possess data on current or past customers you have an advantage when building your buyer personas. This data can provide valuable insights into the wants and needs of your customer base allowing you to create a solid foundation for your avatar. This information can then be expanded upon through market research to give you highly detailed personas.
If you don’t have the luxury of existing customer data, or you want to open up your services to new audiences, you’re best starting with market research.
Using surveys, talking to customers, participating in groups and forums, reviewing customer feedback and observing customer behaviour are all great ways of building your avatars. Through this research, buyer personas can be created and used to guide your marketing efforts with near pin point accuracy.
What is a negative buyer persona?
Negative buyer personas are the complete opposite of your ideal buyer personas, they are the customers you want to avoid.
A simplified example of this would be if you provided a service to small business owners but wanted to avoid owners of large businesses. In a situation like this you could create an ideal buyer persona that represents the demographics, motivations, behaviours and goals of a typical small business owner whilst having a separate negative buyer persona that is focussed on the owners of large businesses.
Buyer personas summary
As you can see, well crafted buyer personas can have a huge impact on your marketing efforts and results. They are great for tuning into potential customers motivations, behaviours, interests and goals, allowing you to think more logically on business strategy by tapping into the emotional aspects of your customers.