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Buyer personas – fictionalized profiles representing different market segments – are a vital tool in B2C marketing. Two customers may come into your store and buy the same product, but that doesn’t make them similar: they could have different preferences, needs, and problems that led them to make that purchase.
For example, two customers walk into a tool store and purchase a hammer:
- “Builder Bill” works in the trade. He’s dropped by early to pick up a hammer because he left one at his previous job and didn't have time to go pick it up before starting the next job. He lives locally and comes in regularly to buy items he needs on the job. He appreciates the quick service and the credit facilities.
- “DIY Darryl” is a bank teller. He’s come in for a hammer during his lunch hour because he and his wife would like to put up some new shelves. He noticed there was a sale on, which reminded him of his upcoming DIY project.
Despite buying the same item, these customers are drastically different. Buyer personas are a way of representing these differences and can help account for them in your marketing.
For example, “Builder Bill” will be interested in trade discounts, items always being in stock, and credit facilities. On the other hand, “DIY Darryl” may be attracted by good prices, but he’ll also value expert advice to help him choose his purchases and plan his projects.
Creating Your Personas: The Importance of Market Research
The key to an effective buyer persona is the insight it gives into the motivations that drive each customer. Without market research, buyer personas are at best a semi-accurate guess, and could even be detrimental if they are based on incorrect assumptions.
Businesses should reach out to customers using market surveys and questionnaires; to achieve the best result we advise the following:
- The business should survey as many people as possible: the more people you talk to, the more accurate your conclusions will be.
- Make an effort to reach a broad range of customers, from the most loyal to those who shop only occasionally. You should also not restrict your questions to customers who love your business – insights into those who are less enthusiastic can be just as beneficial.
- Survey customers on their challenges and their motivations for buying.
- Redo surveys regularly, perhaps once a year. You need to know if your customer’s needs and motivations have changed.
Once you’ve got this information, you’ll need to look for common themes and trends within your data. Typically, buyer personas will have different problems they are trying to solve with your product, and this is a good place to start. Don’t assume that two people of different age and gender won’t be in the same buyer persona; they may have the same motivations for purchase – “DIY Darryl” could just as easily be “DIY Diane”, a mother of two.
Using Your Buyer Personas To Enhance Your Marketing
The aim of this exercise is that by understanding the general demographics buying your products, and the varied motivations those segments have, you can deliver marketing content and promotions that are more likely to attract them.
Your buyer persona should affect the language you use, where you advertise, the types of images you use, and even the products you advertise. For example, when advertising to “Builder Bill,” you will want to stress benefits such as your credit facilities and might place an ad in local trade publications.