It may seem like an overly simple statement but the purpose of any marketing activity is to drive engagement with your brand and products. Essentially it’s the process of creating a relationship between your client (often times a stranger) and your business which moves the client from ambivalence to action. How do you entice a stranger to move from not caring about your business to giving you their money? It all comes down to how well you speak to them in their language and at the time when your product is the best solution for them. This could range from tricky to impossible if you are still relying on old demographics and mosaic data of the past which aren’t so relevant in the digital age. Maybe buyer personas can help.
For some businesses buyer personas have been driving new business decisions for years. Product development teams love them as they offer a strong sounding board to test the value proposition of new and old product lines, marketers love buyer personas as they provide helpful guidelines for targeting campaigns and sales managers love personas because they help them to hone their pitches. But what exactly is a customer persona? And, more importantly, how can you use them to grow your business?
The initial concept of buyer personas are generally credited to Angus Jenkinson in 1993 and was quickly taken up by the advertising world. The popularity in Buyer Persona driven marketing lie in its highly targeted nature which has lead to better outcomes for marketing campaigns and product development. For example, in a purely demographic based marketing environment, a television advertising campaign would be set to show ads to a large group; during a TV show aimed at females aged 18-25, a particular geographic location (usually either metropolitan or regional focus) and a few other rudimentary characteristics. While this is a step up from simply targeting everyone, there will still be wastage in ad spend, not to mention ads served to individuals who roughly fit the demographic but still have no interest or inclination towards the product.
If we contrast that with an example of buyer persona based models in which we have considered; prospect age, financial standing, geography, recorded previous buying habit, regularly visited places and events, other people they socialise with, interests and dislikes, even going down to their favourite restaurants and obviously social media habits. In the second example we are building the image of an individual, including what they love, who they are, what they do and when they do it. In this way we can be selective in our marketing activities so that we can save money and get the perfect version of our message in front of them in just the way they’re expecting.
Consider a different example in which you are responsible for marketing a line of children’s sleeping aides valued at $55, which guarantee a full night of uninterrupted sleep. Demographics would tell you your target audience is women between the ages of 18-55 who have at least $55 to spend and lives anywhere in Australia. If however, you used the Buyer Persona model you would have identified that a good chunk of your target market are new mothers who have a 3 week old baby who needs to be fed every two hours, day in and day out, the baby is a light sleeper and a fussy eater meaning that the mother has no time to read her favourite magazines (which are too cumbersome with a baby in your lap anyway) she is also too nervous to turn the television for fear that the sound or light will wake the baby so her only form of entertainment comes from Facebook.
By working from the buyer persona based behaviour above the marketing manager could forgo the expense of a Television campaign and instead invest in more useful tactics such as social media based campaigns.
As Adele Rivella says in her book – Buyer Persona: How to gain insight into your Customer’s Expectation, Align your Marketing Strategies, and Win More Business – “Buyer Personas are the marketer’s actionable guide to learning what your buyer wants and how they make decisions”
By taking the time to create Buyer Personas for your business you are ensuring that products you create are relevant and your message is delivered to your clients exactly how they expect to receive it. Getting these two factors right will mean that you will be giving your business the best chance to succeed and grow with a client base who will love you for giving them EXACTLY what they want.