During the past several years, the term ‘personas’ has undoubtedly popped up in your marketing- and sales-related conversations. But what in the world are personas? And are they really necessary for successful marketing and sales efforts?
The answer? Yes!
What is a buyer persona?
Let’s start by explaining the term. A buyer persona is simply a way of ‘putting a face – and a personality’ to your primary buyers, customers or clients – to humanize them, make them more ‘real,’ and enable you to create content that will appeal directly to them.
This semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer is based on real data with some educated speculation thrown in to flesh out the persona’s demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.
Why do I need personas for my marketing efforts?
Personas go beyond the squishy, intangible idea of “a customer” or “our customers,” and, instead, give you insight into a specific target customer’s thoughts. This helps you understand the process and criteria that persona uses when weighing options before choosing a solution.
After all, knowledge is power.
And by understanding who, specifically, your ideal customer is (e.g., female, between 40 and 50, mid-level management, 15 years experience, white-collar environment, college-educated, etc.), you begin to see them as an actual person – not just “a customer.” And, you better understand what they’re seeking in terms of solutions for their challenges (e.g., quality, customized products that free-up time, money and resources). Now, you can better create content and tailor all of your marketing and sales efforts to meet your customer where they are in their buying process, or journey.
This enables you to develop content that connects with your ideal customer, which can lead to more conversions from prospect to lead to customer.
Developing your buyer personas
Ready to create your own buyer personas to enhance your marketing efforts? It all starts with research – whether quantitative, online surveys of your current clientele or qualitative, in-person focus groups for a true discussion or both types of research – it’s important to understand your customers in detail before creating your personas.
And, that research is often more in-depth than you may think, forming the perfect intersection between art and science – with an emphasis on the science.
Download our latest whitepaper, by Stealth Insights Director Paul Petersky, to learn more about the transition in the past few years from segmentation to persona development, and the reason for using archetypes vs. grouping customers by a common set of behaviors or attitudes.
And then once you have your customer research analysis in hand, you can complete your persona grid:
From there, you can craft your buyer persona story, fleshing out additional details to truly bring your customer to life:
Heather HR Director has 15 years experience in HR, understands best practices and trends, and is always seeking ways to improve the HR practices at her company through online and printed thought-leadership articles, HR conferences and networking with other HR professionals – even though she struggles to find the time to do so. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, but her unwillingness to say ‘no’ often causes her to work late into the night and over the weekend.
Additionally, she sees her budget shrinking year after year, and her team being asked to do more with less. Because she hasn’t been able to increase her staff for the past several years, she – and her team – wear many hats and are spread extremely thin. As such, she’s constantly on the lookout for quality, effective, but customized, hiring, compliance, HRIS and benefit solutions that will save her team money and time, and free up resources, while still enabling her to be a part of the process/solution.
Take the time to think through all of your potential target customers. Think about who they typically are, what they enjoy, what they’re tasked with in their work role, what may interfere in that, what challenges they face and what a day in the life of that customer would look like. Then, assign them a name, work through the persona worksheet, and craft your persona story.
Create your content!
At this point, you’re ready to assess your editorial content calendar to determine if the existing topics actually fit the personas you’ve created – or if it’s time to modify or even start from scratch to develop content that truly resonates with your buyer personas.
Want some help with that process? Stealth is happy to assist you with the research and buyer persona creation. Just shoot us a message or give us a call at 314.480.3606.