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What is a Buyer Persona, and Why do You Need One?

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Marketing

What is a Buyer Persona, and Why do You Need One?

One of the first things a business needs to know is the people they want to sell to. This is where the concept of a buyer persona comes in.

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of a company’s ideal customer. It contains data such as age, demographics, location, and all the possible factors that drive a customer’s decision-making. A buyer persona lets companies be more structured when marketing their products and communicating with all their customers.

They also go in-depth about that customer’s psychological profile, describing how they behave, what their day usually goes, how they make their decisions, and their everyday needs.

Plenty of research goes into creating a buyer persona. 

Why Do You Need a Buyer Persona?

1. Establish trust with the customer.

Acquiring and retaining customers is all about establishing trust with the company. With a buyer persona, a company can know the motivations that drive customers to make a decision, including the factors that the customer uses to determine if a particular company is worth patronizing.

By having a buyer persona, marketers are better positioned to tap into those motivational factors and present the company or the product as something worth the customer’s time and money.

2. The customer's needs and wants are better understood.

Knowing what customers want out of a company is crucial for sales, marketing, and product development.

It is not about trying to find the best ways to market a product for them. It is about knowing what a customer is looking for and then finding ways to deliver.

A deep understanding of a customer’s needs and wants may create opportunities to develop new products and services that no competitor has ever thought of.

3. It increases the chances of converting prospects to customers.

A buyer persona also ensures that the people who interact with the company are more likely to be customers, making conversion easier and ultimately saving time and money for the company.

For example, an online business can have 10,000 daily visitors on its website. Still, that number does not mean much if only 2,000 of the visitors make a purchase. This can happen when a company’s marketing efforts are not targeted to any particular customer profile.

On the other hand, an online business with a solid brand persona may have fewer daily visitors — say around 5,000 — because of its targeted marketing efforts. However, it has a higher chance of converting more of those visitors into customers.

4. It allows companies to be more consistent.

Without a buyer persona, a company’s efforts tend to be scattered all over the place. A particular advertisement could attract specific customers and repel others. At the same time, the next one could try to draw in the same customers it repelled.

5. Different buyer personas to market in a more organised manner.

Email and other forms of direct marketing are simpler and more efficient if recipients are organised according to their buyer personas.

Suppose a company wants to do a survey or gather important information about a product line. In that case, they can send messages only to the relevant buyer persona.

It is more efficient than contacting the company’s entire customer base and then sifting through the data to keep only the essential parts.

With this, marketing efforts can be made quickly with minimal waste of resources.

Example of a Buyer Persona

As an example, let’s take a look at a hypothetical food company (ABC Food Delivery) that sells pre-packaged meals that all have 2,000 calories. Their target market could be “young professionals aged 21-30 with no time to cook healthy meals for themselves and who want a healthier lifestyle.”

However, their buyer persona would go into more detail and would centre into one hypothetical person:

Joe is a 23-year-old who was recently hired by one of the biggest corporations in New York in the Human Resources Department. He is single, with an undergraduate degree. His job involves assisting in monitoring and screening job applicants.

He lives far from his work, and doesn’t own a car. Instead, he commutes to and from work taking up a lot of his time leaving him with barely enough time to sleep and attend to his personal needs.

Because of his busy lifestyle, Joe has had most of his meals ordered from fast-food restaurants. Throughout the months, he noticed that he was putting on some weight. In a job where he has to interact with lots of people daily, this is starting to make him feel a little conscious about himself. He has decided to start eating healthy.

Joe is internet-savvy and has read up a lot of articles on the Internet about proper eating. He knows that the best way to eat healthier involves cooking his own food, but he also knows that his working hours cannot afford him that luxury.

 

Joe could benefit from a food option that allows him to eat healthy meals without taking up any more of his daily hours, which are already stretched thin. As such, he is the ideal customer for ABC Food Delivery since they offer a wide range of prepared, healthy meals.

Buyer personas can go even deeper than this. Still, this example already paints a good picture of what ABC Food Delivery’s ideal customer is. More than just young professionals who want to eat healthy.

A profile like this lets companies know 

  • Who their customer is?
  • Why would the person want this product?
  • What would motivate them to buy or subscribe to our services?
  • What would turn them away? 

All these questions are answered by a detailed buyer persona, allowing companies to make more informed decisions when developing their products even further.

 

The truth is, buyer personas are not just thought up by companies based on what their gut is telling them. Creating a buyer persona is based on plenty of research on the brand, the company, the product, and the kinds of people who interact with or tend to interact with their product the most.

Plenty of data analytics also goes into creating a buyer persona. Companies monitor their

  • Social media insights 
  • Look at the demographics of the people who view and interact with their products and services.
  • Check their Google Analytics

From here, they analyse these people and come up with a semi-fictional representation of all their customers through one or more profiles.

Conclusion

After learning about the concept of buyer personas and ideal customer profiles, it becomes easier to see them everywhere in all kinds of brands.

While most big companies keep their exact buyer persona a secret — and for a good reason, because no two businesses should have the exact same buyer persona — it becomes easy to guess a company’s ideal customer based on the product and the people actually using them.

Just a few looks at a company’s marketing efforts is all it takes to see that most, if not all of them, are targeted to a specific hypothetical person that many people can relate to.

By having a buyer persona, companies can improve their marketing, accelerate their sales, and be more efficient overall when it comes to all their operations.

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