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Marketing Strategy

The Why, How, and What of Effective Buyer Persona Development

By Carly Stec

The Why, How, and What of Effective Buyer Persona Development Blog Feature

shutterstock_173957750_miniLet's say you work for a catering company and you're asked to prepare a meal for a party of five. 

Before you hit the kitchen, wouldn't you want to know who you were cooking for?

I mean, the age of the group alone could mean the difference between filet mignon or a stack of pb&js with the crusts cut off, right?

Whether you're cooking, writing, or selling, a clear understanding of your audience is necessary if you wish to ensure a successful outcome. 

If your goal is to attract, close, and retain customers, it's critical that you're marketing your product or service in accordance with their wants, needs, and interests.

This is why well-defined buyer personas should be at the center of your strategy, no questions asked.

(But in case you do have questions, I'm here to answer them.)

Why are they important?

“A buyer persona enables you create marketing content that is for someone and not everyone.” - Jeremy Victor

Buyer personas help businesses ensure relevance.

They provide businesses with a semi-fictional representation of their ideal customer to make it easier for marketers and salespeople to visualize who it is they're trying to attract and close. 

This has a major influence on the content creation process. Essentially, the most in sync your content out put is with the wants and needs of your ideal customers, the easier it will be to increase the number of qualified leads you're sending off to your sales team. 

The more educated, targeted leads sales is receiving, the quicker the sales process will be. In turn, your clients services teams will have the opportunity to excel with customers that they actually want to work with. 

It's a win-win for all departments. 

How do I get started?

But who should you be targeted? How do you determine who you should be basing your personas off of?

Before you can get your hands dirty with the interview process, you have to carefully select a group of people that make sense for the process.

Reaching out to your account managers or customers service representatives is a great place to start. At the end of the day, they're the ones dealing with your existing customers, so they'll be best suited to provide you with references. 

The customers that they love to work with now are the customers that you want to duplicate in the future, which is why their insight should be prioritized. 

Your sales team is also a valuable resources in terms of identifying who you would most benefit from speaking with. They can point you in the direction of prospects that they feel are are best suited for your company to do business with. 

If you need more help defining your personas, our buyer persona kit has been carefully assembled everything you need to research them. 

What questions do I ask?

  • Role: What is their title? What skills does it require? Who do they report to? Does anyone report to them? 
  • Company: What industry are they in? How large is their company?
  • Goals: What are their responsibilities? What goals are they working towards? How are they working towards them?
  • Challenges: What are their main pain points? What is holding them back from accomplishing their goals?
  • Watering Holes: Where do they go to consume information? What specific channels do they frequent? Do they subscribe to a particular blog? Club? Organization?
  • Personal: Gender? Age? Education? Children? Location?
  • Shopping Habits: What is their preferred method of interaction with sellers? What factors influence their purchasing decisions? 

Now what?

Create more relevant campaigns: With their interests, likes, dislikes, wants, needs, goals, and ambitions available for reference, it's much easier to structure campaigns that resonate.

Retarget your distribution: Rather than take the time to post something to 5 different channels, only to receive engagement from two, marketers should be focused on positioning their content more effectively on those two channels.

Adjust your language: Based on your buyer persona research, work towards putting forth language that aims to reinforce your message, not complicate it.

Segment your email list: List segmentation allows you to divide your contact database into more specific groups to which you can send more relevant messages. 

Rework your existing content: Reformat the content so that it lends itself better to that persona's preferred format (i.e: SlideShare or checklist.)

Topics:

Marketing Strategy
Published on August 9, 2014

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