Companies often strive to reach as many people as possible to bring their products or services to the attention. After all, they want to sell their products / services to as many people as possible. Of course this sounds ideal, but it is often better to focus on a slightly smaller term. A target group that is in any case more specific than 'everyone in the Netherlands' or even 'in the whole world'. You can describe your target group very specifically on the basis of a buyer persona; namely in just one person. What is its added value for a marketer? We will tell you that in this article. In addition, we provide even more information on the term itself and how you can assemble it.
What is it exactly?
A buyer persona is a very specific, semi-fictional description of the desired customer for a particular company. This detailed description takes into account the behavior, appearance and goals of this customer. The buyer persona is, in the eyes of the company, the most likely profile that will transition into a purchase or other desired conversion. In short, the buyer persona can thus be described as the ideal customer for a company; the so-called example buyer. A company can have multiple buyer personas. This is the case if there are several target groups. Each of these target groups then requires its own buyer persona that represents this entire target group.
'' A buyer persona is a short biography of the typical customer, not just a job description but a person description (…) this includes information on the typical buyer's background, daily activities, and current solutions for their problems '' (Scott, 2015).
A buyer persona can be defined for both the business-to-business market (B2B) and the business-to-consumer market (B2C). However, there is a difference between the two buyer personas of these markets. For example, a B2B buyer persona is much more involved in the purchasing process than that of the B2C. This has everything to do with the longer customer journey and the higher order value that is noticeable in B2B.
The added value
A well-defined buyer persona can provide you with a lot of important information about your target audience. After all, the better you know your target group, the better you know what you can do for your customers. This makes it clear from this what kind of information your target group needs during all phases of the customer journey. You know:
- Which search for information the buyer makes during the customer journey
- What important contact moments during this quest are
- The role of the competition in the purchasing process
- Which success factors, objectives and interests the potential buyer has with the product / service
- Which content or approach best suits this
Insight into this is useful, because in this way you can tailor your business messages exactly to the need that is present in each of the phases. That way you ensure that the right person receives the right offer at the right time. Your messages will be more effective - read 'more effective' - and will result in more traffic, quality leads and customers. In the longer term, this also yields more return / ROI (research shows that this is on average 124% more). Your buyer persona therefore helps you develop a content marketing plan; the most suitable content, promotion and use of channels for your target group. This allows you to reach and help your target group better.
How to develop a buyer persona?
You can research your ideal customer (s) yourself or outsource them to an external party. The most effective personas are compiled on the basis of desk research (data from analytics, existing research reports about the target group, etc.), market research (surveys and / or interviews), own insights and insights from other departments within the company (for example, sales team).
Through interviews and / or surveys with customers and so-called 'non-customers', it can be determined what the information need is at that moment during the entire customer journey and what the most common profile is in terms of demography (age, gender, profession, etc. ). You can also find out the current purchasing behavior.
Questions that can be asked in this market research and that provide a lot of information are for example as follows: Why are people looking for a solution? What do people expect from a product / service? On the basis of which criteria do people ultimately choose a particular product, or why not? How do you search for information? What are their goals and motives? How do they achieve them? Which journey do they undergo?
On the basis of the collected data, it is then possible to focus on the elements that the various buyers have in common. This makes it clear how you can best reach your target group and through which message.
Format buyer persona
You create a buyer persona based on a wide range of questions. You answer the questions by putting yourself in the shoes of your favorite customer, or from the perspective of the buyer persona. The following format is used when drawing up a buyer persona:
- The person: name, age, place of residence, gender, relationship status, hobbies, education, profession and political affiliation.
- The context: usage function of your product or service, vision on product or service.
- Goals, Needs, Desires, Profits: final goal purchase product / service b, experience goal of product or service and life purpose with your product or service.
- Pain, fear, frustration, hindrance: fears in achieving goals, frustrations that may arise while achieving those goals, and obstacles that make it difficult to achieve the goal.
- Influencing factors: media usage and important information sources.
- Online marketing and communication: means of communication, information sources, expected experience of the purchase process and the information need.
After you answer these questions in accuracy, it's time for visualization! Process the answers to the questions in different blocks, so that it remains clear. Add a photo of your ideal customer and use different quotes from, for example, interviews or surveys. Finally, you can choose to add a visual customer journey to your buyer persona. And then ... your buyer persona is complete and ready to use!
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