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Who Are Your Buyer Personas?

The most important steps in any marketing plan are establishing the business goals for your organization, segmenting your buyers into groups and learning as much as you can about them. This process will give you the information you’ll need to design marketing programs that resonate with each segment or buyer persona.

“A buyer persona is essentially a representative of a type of buyer that you have identified as having a specific interest in your organization or product or having a market problem that your product or service solves.” – David Meerman Scott

A buyer persona reads like a biography or character profile. Giving your personas names allows you to empathize with them and provide a deeper understanding of the people who make up the segments of your market. For example, one of Hubspot’s buyer personas is ‘Internet Ian’ a 26 year old marketing grad with 2 years experience at a mid-level agency. He met his last girlfriend using Facebook’s Super Poke application and enjoys first person shooter video games, anime and 80’s action movies.

Once you’ve defined your market segments the best way to create your buyer persona profiles is to interview people.  Ask the following questions:

  • What are their goals and aspirations?
  • What are their problems?
  • What media do they rely on for answers to problems?
  • How can we reach them?
  • What is important to them?
  • What words and phrases do they use?
  • What sorts of images and multimedia appeal to them?
  • What web sites, blogs or podcasts do they read or subscribe to?*

Pay close attention to the keywords and phrases your buyer personas use as well as their sources of media and information. Study the communities where they’re active. Delve into the websites and publications they read. Step into their skin and walk around for a while gaining a thorough understanding of what intrigues and motivates them. This process will afford you the valuable insight into what drives each persona’s purchasing decisions and devise a content creation strategy that speaks to their motivating factors.

Now that you’ve clearly defined your buyer personas, create marketing programs designed to appeal to each segment. When buyers visit your site you want them to identify with your brand and its products/services. Design content that speaks to their needs and provide solutions to their problems without the usual onslaught of marketing messages. Learn what form of media your buyer personas prefer and create content in those mediums. Above all engage with empathy, transparency and value.

* This blog was inspired by Chapter 3 ‘Reaching Your Buyer Personas’ of The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scott.
  1. Well said Terry! Since you talked about messaging in your last paragraph, I would add that it is important to have insights into the buyer’s positive and negative attitudes towards your solution, plus the criteria they use to assess it’s ability to solve their problems. This guides marketers to build (and defend) short, succinct and compelling messages that focus on the point that matters most to the buyer. Without this insight, messages tend to summarize all points, resulting in a general message that impresses no one.

    • Absolutely on the mark! Creating content for individual buyer personas is far more effective than blanketing the landscape with a single message that resonates with no one.

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