Why Do We Need Buyer Personas?

20 Dec 2019 | vividreal

If you’re into digital marketing, you must have heard about the term “buyer persona”. Businesses spend a lot of time researching and creating buyer personas that help them drive better sales. To the unknown, it might just look like a mini CV. There would be a generic photo of a person, a name and a lot of details about this person. 

So what is a buyer persona?

A buyer persona is a detailed description of an ideal customer, made from existing customer sales data. These are the types of customers a company tries to sell their products/services to. As a marketer, it is crucial to understand who your potential customers are. It is pointless to promote your products and services to an audience who are not interested in what you have to offer. Many businesses create detailed descriptions of their ideal customers and use this data to create personalised emails and special offers to attract more customers. Emails and newsletters that feel personal and customised are a lot better at engaging people than generic business emails.

Forming a research-based “character sketch” of your target customer will help you promote your business to the right kind of people. This way, all the work you do is tailored to benefit them specifically. You do not need to waste time and effort on chasing people who do not fit into your buyer persona. When you promote your business with a buyer persona in mind, the customer sees a company that they can trust. From the customers’ perspective, the company knows their problems and has their best interest at heart. This makes them more likely to convert. Most companies have a few different buyer personas, especially if they offer diverse products and services.

Here are a few tips on creating buyer personas.

The best way to create your own buyer persona is to first find out who your current customers are: 

  • Prepare questionnaires and conduct interviews to understand them, their background and why they chose your service/product.  Ask them questions about their life, job and what a typical day is like for them.
  • You can also conduct polls and surveys on social media platforms instead of personal or telephonic interviews. Some people will be more comfortable with answering questions through polls. Find what works best for the customer!
  • Have discussions with people in your company who interact with your customers on a daily basis.
  • You could use your company’s sales data and your customer relations management system to further understand who your customers are. 
  • While creating a buyer persona it is important to give each type of buyer a name and a picture in order to add a human element to it. 
  • A good buyer persona will have details like age group, interests, education, work experience, annual income, marital status, and other demographics. 
  • You could manually create a buyer persona on your own or use templates available on the internet. Hubspot has an interactive tool that makes creating your first buyer persona a piece of cake. Xtensio has a template that you can use, just sign up and try it out for free!

Revise, edit, analyse.

After collecting all the details you need for creating a good buyer persona, you should analyse the data and plan an appropriate sales pitch that you can use to get potential customers to convert. A buyer persona should guide every decision of your company. Be it redesigning your website or the launch of a new product or service. A good buyer persona should never stay stagnant either. It should be constantly updated. It should always be checked by someone who interacts with your customers often. Always revise the data in your buyer persona regularly and compare different buyer personas to see which one of them best defines the characteristics of your ideal customer. 

Negative Persona

Equally important as a buyer persona is something called “negative persona”. These are descriptions of the types of people you do not want to target. These include people who cannot afford or use your services. Creating a negative persona will help your company save time and money in the long run. 

Companies that fail to understand who their target customers are, end up paying the price. Here’s an example of a multi-billion dollar company that experienced this first-hand.

GAP, an American worldwide clothing and accessories retailer, unveiled its new logo on October 6th, 2010. This was the first change in its logo in over 24 years. The company was trying to target youngsters and were looking to adopt a trendier approach to their marketing. This, however, offended their existing customer base who used to see GAP as a company that stays away from trends. They ended up receiving a lot of backlash. The logo was changed back within a few days and within 4 months, the CEO had resigned.

What went wrong here? GAP clearly didn’t understand their current customer base. They were targeting an entirely different group of customers with different preferences. This offended their current customer base, turning this harmless little logo change into a disastrous and embarrassing moment in the company’s history.

A buyer persona is a cheat sheet that you can use to grow your company by targeting the right kind of customers your business needs. In the age of digital marketing, you need all the help you can get to save time, money and effort.

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