Last week a prospect and I were talking about understanding his brand’s buyer personas.
Guess we needed some education on this valuable communications tool. So here are the six questions I am using to explain this:
- What is a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is your interpretation of your ideal customer. It can be based on SEO, market research and other real data about your customers. It also can be made up based on your experience in selling over the last year or months. Seriously, if you are out in the field, you know your customer better than most other sources. Here is a great HubSpot post explaining the value of creating personas.
- What makes up a persona?
It should include customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better. Experts like The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Charles E. Gaudet II suggest these subjects to be addressed in a persona:
- Time in the job
- Works directly with
- Daily tasks
- Likes/dislikes about job
- Role in buying process
- Buying stage
To make your personas come alive, I suggest adding images and even naming your personas. Sometimes, I get silly and name folks. Bossman, Driver, Defender, Techstar etc. Or pick people from your favorite sitcom – Sheldon Cooper and his buddies from “The Big Bang Theory” can work. Connecting the persona with a picture helps me too — Bossman equals Mike Ditka, an irascible tyrant. Naming a persona helps you and your team to see this buyer as a human being who is more than a business transaction.
- Why do you need to create personas?
Personas offer powerful structure, insights and ideas for your company and brands. A comprehensive persona helps evaluate where to concentrate your time, energy and money. It guides product development, innovation and definitely communications. This alignment will allow you to attract the most valuable leads and customers to your business. Check out this detailed buyer persona template to help you.
Want more proof of their value? Studies such as this one by the Edelman’s Brandshare group show that brands don’t understand what motivates and concerns their customers. A key insight from that study is that 51% of respondents feel brands are underperforming when it comes to asking about their needs. Only 10% consider brands are doing this well. Oops.
When thinking about public relations, the value of internal and external audience buyer personas is critical to determining the important things like these:
- Kind of content you need to create
- Tone, style, and delivery strategies (and more) you need to develop
- Topics and targets you should focus on to help continually grow your business
- Who needs to be “in the know” on your projects (both now, and in the future)
- How many personas do I need?
As you know, many decisions are made by committee, so you will benefit from developing a persona for every member of the decision making process. For many companies, there can be several specific personas:
Be mindful that if you sell a variety of products or services with various audiences, you’ll need personas for each of them.
- What’s the value of specific personas?
They are needed for each of these groups because you will engage them differently as they enter the buying process at varying intervals, and they care about their own things ranging from features to benefits to costs to delivery times, etc.
- When do you create personas?
Obviously, it should be at the beginning of your communications effort. And I would imagine that your team, especially sales, customer service and market research team are raring to help with this.
So how are you creating and benefit from buyers’ personas?
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