Experts recommend that you must never think of diving into paid advertising or content marketing unless you know exactly who your buyers are. Divestopedia suggests, “As business owners, you need to consider the types of buyers that are in the market, how those buyers perceive value and the advantages and disadvantages associated with each.”
As a marketer, you must have heard of the term “buyer persona” being tossed around a lot. However, why does this term hold such an immense significance in marketing campaigns? This is because; every customer is unique in his or her own way. And once you learn to build buyer personas, you will be able to laser target your advertisements and draft compelling content that engages your ideal customers.
Whether you are running an online clothing store or a brick and mortar bakery, you must understand that all customers do not fit in the same mold. Each possesses unique needs and interests. So it becomes essential to build a vivid picture of your ideal and largest market.
Let me explain it a bit further.
What is buyer persona?
Have you ever heard of the terms “Trendy Tom”, “Thrifty Tyler” and “Discount Dolly”? Each of them represents the various categories of buyers with similar likes, habits, backgrounds and decision making processes.
- Trendy Tom loves receiving notifications about new fashion styles and actively listens to the recommendations of the influencer he follows. He doesn’t care much about the price of the product as he cares about not being left out.
- Thrifty Tyler, on the other hand, spends her money only on the items she thinks are of utmost necessity. She never buys any pricey brand or products she hasn’t heard of or tried yet.
- Discount Dolly buys only when there is an ongoing sale. And, there may be times during which she ends up buying discounted products she has never tried before or even heard of previously.
Trendy Tom, Thrifty Tyler, and Discount Dolly are basically your buyer personas. Experts estimate that we are exposed to almost 4000-10,000 marketing advertisements every day. This makes it quite hard to reach out to the eyes and ears of the right people with your marketing campaign. To survive in this competitive market, you must tailor your marketing efforts to create ultra-targeted ads and communications that serve the varying desires of each of these customers.
To boost sales, a business generally needs to take into account all the aforementioned factors, along with multiple buyer personas that affect a sale.
For example, if the end-users decision to buy your product depends on recommendations or approval of others, then you will need to consider each of the individuals involved in the decision making process as a separate persona. You will need different strategies to address their requirements as each of them will have different criteria for viewing your product.
Collecting data to identify the buyer persona
Brands use various segmentations to understand and target their audience base. As the personas are fictional representations of the buyers, they will only work out if you do not completely understand who your buyers (or potential buyers) are. So, the more information you get, the better.
To narrow down the user groups, marketers need to take into account details like demographics, gender, socioeconomic status and many other factors about a customer to create extensive personas.
Here’s a quick glimpse of the various elements a detailed persona takes into account:
Demographics provide you with statistical data relating to the ideal customer’s gender, age, family size, income, marital status, race, occupation, religion, nationality, etc. However, these data only give an overview of a customer’s choices and preferences. Once you get the general information, you will need to dig deeper to get more insights into the personality of your buyer.
For example, just knowing that your ideal customers are employed, urban-dwelling, females, single, aged between 25 and 35 – that paints a rather vague and ambiguous picture of a young working professional. This information won’t help you in any way to refine your marketing and sales processes. You must narrow down your focus and try to identify “What makes your prospects who they are and what drives them to get involved with your product.”
Even if a person’s monthly income is 45 to 75k, he/she might be a price-conscious buyer like Discount Dolly, who only responds to discounts and sales. In this case, advertising sale or a discount product is likely to be more effective than highlighting the product quality in the advertisement.
- Psychographic and behavior
Once you know your buyer’s demographics, you will also need to improve your understanding of their personality, spending habits, values, behavior, patterns etc. An insight into your customer’s personality, lifestyle, and attitude will definitely give your ad targeting and communication a better chance to stand the ground in the market.
To divide the customers into psychographic and behavioral segmentation, marketers mostly use a proprietary research methodology called VALS (Value, Attitudes & LifeStyles). VALs framework divides the consumers into 8 distinct categories based on their values and lifestyles in order to study the motivation behind consumer purchase decisions.
Innovators: These consumers have high incomes, high self-esteem and abundant resources and stay on the leading edge to change. They mostly prefer purchasing prestige goods and services.
Thinkers: These consumers are known to have high resources and are strongly motivated by ideals. They are mature, practical consumers and rational decision-makers.
Believers: These consumers have low resources and a modest income. They are predictable and conservative consumers who favour established brands.
Achievers: This group of consumers has high resources and is greatly motivated by achievements. They are work-oriented, politically conservative people and get their satisfaction from jobs and families.
Strivers: This group generally has low resources. They give great importance to style and strive to emulate the people they admire.
Experiencers: They are greatly motivated by self-expression and are known to have high resources. They are young consumers who spend heavily on fast food, clothing, music with an emphasis on new products and services, hence lacking brand loyalty.
Makers: This group of consumers is practical and value self-sufficiency. They mostly remain focused on family work and physical recreation and favour practical and functional products.
Survivors: They are the oldest of all the consumers and have the lowest incomes. They have very few resources, and because of their limited means, they generally tend to be brand loyal consumers.
Once you divide your customer base into these 8 separate segments, you will get brilliant tangible insights into a consumer’s journey. It will help you to tailor your marketing campaigns as per your customer’s requirements.
Why are buyer personas so important for your business?
Mary Fernandez explains,
“The purpose of creating a buyer persona is to get crystal clear idea of the individuals who you are marketing to. Until you nail this down, you can’t really be sure that your offerings and your content marketing messaging (sic) are going to be successful,”
No doubt, 2019 is an ad-heavy world. As per a recent survey, more than one third of small businesses (which amount to approximately 37%) spent about $10,000 on advertising every year. Also, the report states, nearly 91% of small businesses have planned to invest in advertising their products in traditional and digital mediums. So, it becomes essential for today’s businesses to break through an impressive amount of noise and clutter to capture a prospective buyer’s attention.
Benefits of persona development
Quite often, brands develop products and campaigns for nameless, faceless users, defined only by obligatory data points that lack meaningful context. This doesn’t lead you anywhere. However, when you know your customer is a 30-year-old businesswoman named Christina who is a single mother of two children, shops mostly at Whole Foods and drives a Volkswagen you are in a much better position to tailor your marketing campaigns accordingly.
You can craft a visual and verbal identity that resonates with her requirements. This scope would be lost if you simply worked towards an end goal with a “30 something individual” in mind.
Some of the most significant benefits of persona development include:
- You get a firm understanding of a customer’s interests
Just try to imagine what goes in your head when you try to buy the perfect gift for your loved ones; you visualize theirs likes and dislikes as you shop. You imagine their wants, needs, the things they are interested in and the things they hate, to ensure you pick a satisfying gift. Similarly, customer personas help you understand the likes and dislikes of your customer base.
You can leverage these insights to identify the topics; your prospects love and want to learn more about and hence create content they find valuable.
- You get to customize your social media promotions
Once you know the background of your each of your personas, you will have a better understanding of where they spend time online and the social network they use to connect with family and friends. This will, in turn. help you target and promote your content in a medium where the prospective customers are likely to read it. If one of your personas prefers email as compared to others who like to spend time on Facebook, you will know which type of content needs to be shared in each place.
- Stakeholders get an insight into customer’s preferences
This deems especially helpful when you are working with multiple stakeholders. At times, a vast pool of different ideas (about what needs to be developed first) becomes overwhelming without thoroughly defined personas. Once you know your personas, you can walk the stakeholders through common interactions and unveil the pain-point easily. It will help you clarify actual user priorities over the stakeholder’s personal wish list.
On a parting note
Your buyer persona will give you a detailed description of your target customers and answers the “who, what, why and how” of an ideal customer. This fictional, generalized representation of your customers describes who they exactly are, what challenges they face, what their days are like, and how they make their decisions. So, while working with the buyer personas, keep in mind that you must treat each of the personas as an actual person with specific interests, wants, and needs. Once you get to know your ideal customers better, you will find that the benefits are endless.
Author Bio: Kady Smith is a marketing expert who delivers market research training and support services to students of business management. She is also associated with MyAssignmenthelp.co.uk and collaborates with our team of assignment writers to guide students whenever they get stuck with their assignments.