A buyer persona (also known as a customer avatar) is a fictional representation of your company’s ideal customer. Personas can help you customize marketing efforts to specific audience segments; by understanding the concerns and motivations of your buyers, you will be able to tailor your marketing messages and provide better solutions to their problems.
Personas are based on real data about current customer demographics and online behaviors, as well as educated guesses about their personal background, motivation, and concerns. Creating an effective persona requires extensive research, which may take the form of customer interviews, surveys, website analytics, product reviews, keyword research, social media analytics, and/or competitor research.
When deciding what personas to create, consider your typical buying process. At each stage, with whom do you typically engage? Personas typically consist of end-user customers, influencers, and decision makers or those with purchasing authority. Prioritize them based on their impact on the final purchasing decision, their relationship to your company, and the size of the persona group. (If a particular group only has a few members, you may want to focus your marketing efforts on a larger one.) Ideally, you’ll narrow your list to about three primary personas to start; once you’ve completed them, you can refine and/or add additional personas as needed.
The most useful information for your buyer personas will depend on whether your company has a business-to-business or business-to-consumer focus.
For a B2B company, your persona should identify:
- Demographics such as gender, age, and education
- Work-related information such as job title, company size, industry, and job responsibilities
- What a day in their life is like, including who they deal with and what types of decisions they make
- What their primary pain points are that relate to your products or services
- What they value most in making a purchase decision and what their purchase goals are
- The primary sources of information they use in their research and purchase decision process
- What is most important to them in selecting a vendor, such as having proven experience or being a domain expert
- Their most common objections as to why your company’s solutions don’t meet their needs
- Demographics such as age and gender
- Their geographic location (including time zone, for international and online businesses)
- What language(s) they speak
- How much money they have to spend and how they approach purchases in your price category
- What their interests are, such as what they like to do and what other businesses they interact with
- What their pain points and challenges are
- What stage of life they are in; for example, college students, new parents, retirees