According to a recent article on the criteria for choosing a marketing agency, companies expect agencies to be able to help them develop buyer personas. As a reminder, the buyer persona embodies an ideal and fictitious customer.
These buyer profiles are shared with all the departments of your company to ensure the consistency of your offers and your speeches. As a marketing agency, we regularly support our clients in defining their buyer personas. Here are the questions they frequently ask us, and our answers.
Why create buyers personas?
The main advantage of buyers personas is the consistency of your marketing and sales strategies. They serve as common benchmarks for all the departments of your company to guide your offer, its marketing promotion, your content creation, and your sales techniques. The advantages of buyer personas are felt at every stage in the life of a product or service:
- these customer profiles more faithfully embody the reality of your prospects than traditional customer segmentation techniques. A MaketingInsiderGroup article estimates that 93% of companies that exceed their business goals categorize their customer databases according to a logic of personas.
- content designed according to these profiles garners very good results in terms of engagement and conversion. According to an MLT Creative survey, going through buyer persona allows you to double the open rate of an emailing campaign, and by 5 its click rate. By helping you better understand your consumers, buyers personas effectively allow you to develop a lead-generating content marketing strategy.
- Buyer persona serve as benchmarks to facilitate decision-making, especially in an emergency.
Should we use models?
The web is full of templates and typical examples of buyer personas. These prototypes are tempting because they allow you to go quickly. However, they go against the grain of the logic that governs buyers’ persona. These should help you to know your insurance customers, to have in mind several consumer profiles able to guide your decisions in the heat of the moment. By going through models, we accelerate the process of manufacturing the persona, but we memorize very little.
The prospect profiles of your company also remain very specific compared to those of other market sectors. By going through a canvas, we take the risk of missing the most relevant information to fully understand our consumers. Or worse, to embark on a growth hacking strategy without having checked the adequacy between your offer and the market.
For really useful buyer personas, you have to take the time to detail, and be interested in the aspects of your customers that are important to your company.
Where to start?
The models of buyer personas that abound online also make it seem like drawing believable personas are enough to establish effective buyer personas. This is, according to the pope of buyers personas, Adele Revella, one of the common mistakes in the conception of buyer personas.
Priority to consumer behavior
The process underlying their profiling consists less in filling in the boxes of a fictitious identity card than in identifying purchasing behavior. In a B2C framework, the priority objective is therefore not to establish whether your persona is male or female, married or single. No more than determining a possible hierarchical level in a B2B context. The priority remains to understand the consumer behavior and the decision criteria of your fictitious customer.
The choice of a persona identity, an avatar in short – name, first name, photo – remains useful to more easily represent your consumer and memorize him through the image. However, this is not the determining information of your prospect file.
Questions to ask yourself to create a credible buyer persona
Other data can be more strategic in defining your target audiences:
- Employment, socio-professional category, sector of activity.
- Areas of interest and aspirations, very variable depending on whether you are working in a B2B or B2C context.
- The daily routine of the persona, particularly important to identify the times when he is most attentive to the market, or the least available to requests. Identifying your habits also allows you to pinpoint your recurring issues, to which your offer can provide a solution.
- Means of information: privileged marketing content, searched keywords, use of social networks. All of this data should allow you to determine the “perfect landing zone” for each of your targets, or what some also call the Sweet Spot.
- Purchasing behavior: is it an individual capable of operating on a “crush” basis, or a B2B lead who will research before buying?
- Report to web marketing and e-commerce: is your buyer persona buying online? What then is his purchasing journey? Are commercial speeches capable of touching him? If not, what are its brakes?
- What is your persona’s opinion of your offer? What could be his objections and obstacles to the purchase?
Where can I find the information?
It is quite natural to think that it is enough to base oneself on the information raised by the sales representatives to find answers to all the categories of questions referenced above. Of course, the data you already have on qualified targets is valuable and deserves to be included in your thinking.
relying only on this information, however, you run the risk of having a business strategy quite similar to the one you already had before adopting buyer personas.
For your customer profiles to positively impact your business development, the best tactic is actually to speak directly to your consumers. Ideally, this approach involves an ethnographic study. However, this remains very expensive, so you can also proceed on a reduced scale, with:
- online questionnaires on the habits and expectations of your actual and potential consumers.
- qualitative interviews with your existing customers.
- focus groups with consumer samples, more suitable however in the context of BtoC strategies.
You also have precise information internally and therefore with high added value in your CRM, if it is updated regularly.
How many marketing personas are needed?
This is a frequently asked question, which does not always imply the same answer. Our clients often think that it is necessary to provide for a persona per market segment, or per socio-professional category, in the case of our B2B clients. However, this approach results in the profiling of too many personas, even though they must be remembered for your team.
For several relevant target profiles, it is better to focus on the commonalities of your market segments. A persona = a type of purchasing behavior, and therefore a sales and marketing strategy were likely to work. This rule, stated here again by Adele Revella, allows you to obtain the right number of personas. Profiles that can be remembered by your teams, and nevertheless effective for hyper-personalized marketing.
It remains to be clarified that the number of buyer personas can of course change with your market. Consumption habits change, and you will sometimes have to update your consumer profiles or create new ones.