No matter where your company / brand is at, whether you are a start up or well established, you will always require some level of marketing. Marketing, according to the American Marketing Association, is the act of creating, communicating, delivery, and exchanging offerings that have value.
Part one of why you are marketing is sharing what you have of value with who would value it. This is your target audience. Additionally, this is the first area you can boost your marketing strategy, by having a clear buyer--or customer--persona. A buyer persona is a template and detailed description of the generality of your target audience. Include their demographics, pain points, spending power and patterns, interests, life challenges, goals, and other lifestyle details that are imperative to how they purchase, where they purchase, and what would cause them to purchase or engage with your value. Having a clear buyer or customer persona gives your marketing campaign a clear focus. While fictionalization is going to happen, it is best to have tangible, object able data as often as possible. The point is to keep make it only semi-fictional, emphasis on semi.
Creating a Buyer Persona
A well-done buyer persona is the keystone to your marketing success. If your product/service is going to be sold to customers who are quite different from one another, then you will want to create multiple buyer personas—it’s rather rare for you to have only one unless you are starting out or targeting a very specific niche.
The first part of your buyer persona is common demographics. Demographics, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, are statistical characteristics of a population. The key to this is these are used to identify or segment part of the population as a group separate from another. As mentioned previously, your persona will have pieces fictionalized as you will have to generalize your group. Every person is unique, so to classify a group as having “these characteristics” will require generalizations across the board. To reduce the level of generalization, you can do this through surveying and speaking to those who are currently your customers, potential future customers, or those outside of your audience to understand their POVs (point of view).
Outside of the demographics, you need to understand their challenges and goals. Not solely the challenge your product/service is solving, but their challenges in life. Difficulties that they have to deal with that may or may not impact their purchasing habits and buying decisions. You can divide your persona further into those based on their professional goals, where they are in the buying-cycle, as well as who is this being purchased for. Sometimes, you aren’t marketing solely to your direct customer but to the person with the purchasing power. An example of this is candy for children. It may be enticing to children, but most times they aren’t the ones purchasing it.
Importance of Buyer Persona
Buyer personas help all levels of your marketing strategy. They can assist in building roadmaps of where to place your product/service in relation to the buying intention. It also helps craft your campaigns. It is important to identify where your customers are (part of the buyer persona) and target them when they would be looking to purchase. Buyers have (3) stages of the purchasing decision: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision. The content and kind of marketing you do at each stage will be different. This is what a buyer persona helps you to clarify, in addition to bettering your search engine optimization, paid ads, and overall content generation.
It is no doubt that a buyer persona will help you clarify and boost your marketing strategy. The hard part is doing the research, both internal (current customers or beta testers) and external (market research). It can be time consuming. There are many resources to help you do it yourself, such as Hubspot’s Free Buyer Persona template. Other business’s opt for hiring a freelancer or company to do the research for them, like hiring a LiveFive researcher. How ever you choose to go about it, you will want a starting persona to lead your strategy. It is important to note, that this template is not static; it will change and evolve as people do and your product/service does.