Particularly interesting is that they aren’t just a customer, at all – they’re a daughter, friend, mother or father – a human being, essentially. As such, they have complex needs, beliefs, lifestyles and relationships that we all but discount when we treat them simply as a “consumer”.
This is where creating buyer personas comes in. If you’re not familiar with the concept, creating a buyer persona involves building up a three-dimensional impression of your target audience complete with name, appearance and interests. This will include basic details that you’ll already know – gender, age, location.
But it should also take into account some finer – and at first, seemingly irrelevant details – such as where they like to shop, the newspapers they buy, and where they might go on holiday. You can attain these details either by conducting a survey of your existing client base, undertaking market research or by simply imagining what your ideal customer looks like.
If you think it all sounds a bit woolly and time-consuming – you wouldn’t be wrong. So when you’ve got deadlines to meet and targets to hit, is it really essential to create these buyer personas?
Short answer: Yes.
Building up this fictitious image of your customer can have long-lasting benefits for your business and go a long way in informing your marketing strategy. Here’s just three of the main reasons to make time for it this quarter.
1. Understand where your customer is
We’re not just talking about geographical location here, but the newspapers they buy, the websites they visit, the kind of media they consume. Understanding where they get their information from and where their eyes will be at any one time will tell you the most profitable spots to place your advertising. If they tend to spend a lot of time on social media and buy glossy magazines but aren’t so interested in newspapers or news websites, you’ll know that these outlets are waste of time.
Similarly, it’s interesting to note at which point a customer makes the buying decision. Do they purchase online or do they prefer to call and speak to someone first? Use this information to make sure they are catered for at every stage.
2. Better understand their needs and desires
It’s easy to make stabs in the dark about what you customer needs. But compare analysing the habits of a faceless customer to those of your family and friends – you’re probably able to make much more accurate guesses about the latter. Why? Because you know them. Creating buyer personas for your target audience allows you to get to know them better and make more educated guesses about what they need you to provide for them.
3. Create better content
This is the overall crux of points one and two. Knowing more about your customer, what they read, how they make decisions and what messages they respond best to are all factors which will enable you to create better content.
And by better, we essentially mean more tailored, personalised and relevant. Better content, both online and offline, leads to more engaged customers, a better overall brand image and a higher percentage of people actually interested in buying from you.
4. What are negative buyer personas?
On the flip side, as beneficial as it is to understand exactly who your prospects are, it can be useful to identify any specific traits you aren’t looking for in a potential customer.
For example, you may need to exclude certain groups depending on location – if you are a plumber in Berkshire, a homeowner in Inverness isn’t your prime target. Another example: if you are a B2B company with a high price point service, individuals who aren’t the primary decision-makers in the business you’re targeting won’t have the authority to make the call. Knowing both who your prime customers are and those you should avoid will help you to streamline and fine-tune your activities, allowing your marketing strategy to shape up rather nicely.
Have you created buyer personas? Do you think it’s a valuable practice?