Quick! Who is your customer? Not sure, read on — Foundation Series — Part Four


Do you know who your customers are? Not just where they live or what age bracket they fall into, but what they’re like — what types of jobs do they have, what are their goals, their struggles, the daily onslaught of decisions they make? And why do they choose your product over a competitor’s — what makes yours better in their world?

A ‘buyer persona’ can help develop characters that represent your customer groups. They allow you to market to a person/person type and can help you keep your real-person customer in mind when you’re coming up with new marketing strategies.

Getting started

You’re likely going to have several buyer personas. Your customers are diverse after all. Think of every persona as representative of a larger group of people. Start with three to five personas, as this should capture most of your customers while still being able to distinguish groups from one another.

Creating a buyer persona is akin to writing a character in a story. You want backstory to bring this person off the page, so you can feel connected with them. To build that rich backstory, consider some basics:

  • Who are they? What’s their age, their family status, where do they live? Did they go to university or college, if so where, what did they take? Do they have a professional designation? Where do they live, what kind of home, what is their income?
  • What’s their job? What do they do for a living? Do they have professional credentials? Where do they work, what is their role and responsibilities there? Why do they do what they do (what’s the motivation?)
  • What are their ambitions? What do they want to accomplish in life? (It’s also worth exploring how your product could help them achieve their goals.) What do they value? Conversely, what might drive them away?
  • What is their group like? What about this person makes them representative of the bigger customer base? What are important themes in this group, what are their buying habits or societal motivations? Where do you find them. What are they buying? What motivates their buying choices?
  • What is your pitch? What is it about your product that speaks to this group? What is the value proposition for them, and what is your market positioning relative to them? Tied back to the marketing message, if you had fifteen seconds to get someone within this persona interested in your product, what would you say?

Gathering Data to Craft Your Personas

Creating a buyer persona can be a fairly intensive process. An easy place to start is with your own data, collected through your website, social channels and sales.

Look at where visitors came from, what keywords they used in searches, and make an educated guess at why they came to your site. If Google Analytics is your platform of choice, you may also have access to valuable demographic information.

On your social channels, look at your follower demographics and search for specific keywords or phrases; take note of any questions being asked.

Lastly, you should be willing to ask questions in order to better understand your customers, and thus improve your personas. Talk to your customer service team and your sales/retention teams. You may have customer surveys to draw from as well. If you take the time to carefully consider the answers that you receive, you may be able to gain valuable insight into how a group of customers can see your product.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, buyer personas help you humanize and personalize your marketing. They help you think about your customers as individual people, not metrics on a spreadsheet or dimensions in a report.

As David Ogilvy said, the customer is not a moron, she’s your wife. Or your husband, or your friend or coworker. He or she is a real person, with countless other things going on in their life that aren’t your product or your brand.

Marketers have been building customer personas for the last century. If you’d like to make sure your business is making the right marketing decisions, let us know. We’ll help you craft customer personas that can lead to business growth.