When setting up a product or service, the question that should come forward is Who is your ideal customer? To whom will you be selling to? And before selling, to whom will you be talking to? After all if you do not understand to whom you are talking to, it’s very difficult to craft a message that resonates with your target. And not only, you also need to know where to find this ideal customer.

To our rescue comes what Marketing 101 calls “buyer persona”. With this term, marketers are referring to the profiles of our ideal customers.

And by ideal they mean precise, detailed, and exhaustive.

This is how HubSpot defines it:

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data about customer demographics and (online) behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.

The reason why so many marketers go through this painstaking exercise of defining personas is because these profiles are a tool that builds confidence in strategies to persuade buyers to choose you rather than a competitor or the status quo.

How do you create your buyer persona?

Buyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience. That includes a mix of customers – both “good” and “bad” — prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience. You’ll collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a picture of who your ideal customer is, what they value, and how your solution fits into their daily lives.

When confronted with the task of creating a buyer persona, your first reaction most probably is that your mind goes blank and you don’t even know where to start.

A great place to begin drafting your personas is collecting demographic information, this info is easy to obtain and starts to paint a clearer, more personal picture of your customer.

Below the essentials your persona should have for a B2B persona

  • Title
  • Time in the job
  • Works directly with
  • Daily tasks
  • Responsibilities
  • Likes/dislikes about job
  • Frustrations
  • Pressures
  • Concerns
  • Needs
  • Role in buying process
  • Buying stage
  • Drivers

If you have a B2C product or service, your persona should include answers to questions like: How does a day in the life of this person look like, where-how does he/she spend their free time etc.

To help people relate to your personas, add images and give names to your buyer profiles. Assigning a name to the persona helps everyone on the team think of this buyer as a real person, not just a piece of business.

For the purpose of practicality we will work with Ann, a human resources manager looking for an employee data system that integrates easily with other data systems in the company like the one in finance.

Here some sample questions when setting up your buyer persona profile. We will use our example above, Ann the HR manager

-What is not working for Ann right now? And how can you make that work better?

-What results or outcomes does Ann expect from this data system she is looking for?

-What attitudes or concerns prevent Ann from investing in this data system? Or why wouldn’t she purchase it from you? Think of previous (bad) experiences with similar products, customer service etc

-Which features of your product or service does Ann evaluate as she compares alternative approaches / vendors and make a decision?

-What is Ann’s role in the decision and who else will impact the decision? What resources will she trust to guide the decision? (Referrals, guarantees, contracts, online forums, etc.)

Of course, the more concrete your questions are, the more insights you will obtain. The easier it will be to reach your ideal customer.

Where do you find your ideal customer

The basic premise is that Ann loves your product or service, can afford it, and you can reach out to her.

Spend time watching and listening. Watching Ann doing her thing, talking to other people and ask questions. If you have a store or a location where your customers come to, spend time hanging out with customers. Talk to your old customers as well. If your thing is online, visit forums where your Ann hangs out and listen to what she is complaining or raving about.

Ann can also be found with surveys, Google alerts and Google consumer surveys, among other online possibilities.

Looking beneath people’s words you should be able to see patterns, identify underlying problems and even solutions to problems.

Talking to Ann:

Whatever you are writing: a sales brochure, a blog, instructions or else, you have to write as of you were talking to Ann. Use her words. Describe the problems the same way she does. When quoting testimonials, do not polish them.

And since you already know how Ann’s day looks like, you will also know where to communicate with her (magazines, online, google ads, workshops, networking events, your store)

When you spend your time thinking about what else you could be doing to make Ann’s life better, you’ll start to see some very exciting things happen in your marketing.

Who is your Ann? And how can we help you to further define your ideal customer?

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