A buyer persona is one of the building blocks of a strong brand strategy. It’s a research-based customer profile that businesses create to identify their target customers and customise their products and communications accordingly. It helps put yourself and your team into the shoes of your customers so any internal efforts and decisions are based on customer needs and not your own gut. This helps businesses become true customer champions, leading to greater reach within a new or existing market and a boost in revenue.
Buyer personas are built through research. You can, and should, use the information you already have on your existing customers and/or look to collect new information about a potential new market by hosting focus/research groups. Below gives an example of how we collect data to create buyer or user personas for our customers looking to create a brand or marketing strategy.
Stage 1: Collect the data
The first step in creating a persona is to carry out extensive research to gain an understanding about your target audience. We usually start with an existing customer base to study their buying habits, demographics, their likes, dislikes and preferences about a particular product.
If we’re trying to break into a new market, we’ll approach that market with surveys and incentives to collect similar information to the current customers.
We then use this to paint a picture of an ideal customer.
The best and easiest way to collect data is to simply call or email frequent/loyal customers and ask them their honest opinion. It’s also important to learn about the negative experiences of customers so you can identify where you went wrong and how to fix it for your larger scale Customer Experience plans.
As mentioned, other methods of gaining insight include large scale surveys, as these too can help fetch useful and valuable information.
Stage 2: Bringing everything together
Now that we have the basic information and metrics of current and new customers, it’s time to sift through them to find the most important and relevant answers to these four areas:
- Demographics: Age, gender and occupation of your target buyers
- Behavior Patterns: Interests and skills of the customers
- Goals: Challenges and motivations for the customer
- Pain Points: What does your product solve for that customer.
Once we have pinpointed this information and brought it into one place, it’s time to build a database to consolidate the information for future use.
Stage 3: Categorise the personas
The next step in creating a persona is to allocate the acquired information to different types of customers or customer categories. For instance, if your product is about fitness, you could’ve multiple categories, one targeting the potential customers who want to build muscle, an other who want to lose weight and one who wants to get fit.
The more diverse these categories are, the more in-depth information you’ll acquire. We often create 5 or more buyer personas as there are multiple rhymes and reasons customers decide to buy your product or one similar.
Stage 4: Assign images / logos
Based on these profiles, we assign images and logos to buyer personas to be able to easily identify them. Assigning pictures to your personas helps build empathy for each customer making it easier for you to put yourself in their shoes. This may seem like a weird one, but pictures speak a thousand words. Having faces can help your team connect and focus when you are discussing each persona.
Stage 5: Create personalised content
Based on all the information we’ve gathered, we start to allocate the data to the different persona categories. If you found in your research that a certain age group had a common theme in the way they shop, or what social network they are on, assign it to that persona.
By doing this you’ll find you can refine and perfect the content you are pushing to each customer type as all future communications will be much more personalised. You can then spread the word around about the product or service you’re offering more directly.
It’s so important to determine which mode of communication suits a customer the most. Email marketing, social media and direct approach are some of the known and frequently used methods to reach out to the buyers, but each persona should tell you their desired communication approach.
Stage 6: Use it
Often creating a buyer persona is instigated by an individual or team within a business. This can mean once one is created, it’s only used by that individual or team. It’s so important once you have gone through this process that everyone in your organisation knows who your target audience is AND keeps referring back to them in all decisions.
If necessary, print out cardboard cutouts of the faces of each persona and stick it to a chair in your meetings. When discussing the best ways to approach a new product, or marketing campaign, refer back to this customer and review their desires. This way you can know that your decisions are completely focused on your customers needs and not your gut.
An effective buyer persona helps businesses flourish and improve how they interact with customers. It’ll help you make sure that whatever it is you’re offering, is an actual desire for your target audience. Research is of the utmost importance in your pursuit to recognise your target customers. As soon as an organisation shifts its focus from its own preferences to those of the customers’, it’s able to hit business targets successfully and be a true customer champion.
So if you’re a business that wishes to revamp its marketing strategy, having strong buyer’s persona is definitely the thing for it!