Every business should identify the common traits of their core customer base and create and develop its strategies around serving this core group. This will build rapport with current customers and attract new ones who are more likely to become loyal and support your brand enthusiastically.
By using a buyer persona, you can align your sales and marketing strategies to increase sales. According toHubspot, “businesses with effective Sales and Marketing alignment achieved 208% higher marketing revenue than organizations with disjointed teams.”
Having a buyer persona makes it easier for your business to make strategic decisions. You will be in tune with your customer's needs andengage with them more authentically. In addition, your product and messaging will genuinely resonate with the customer.
Consider the following example: For a healthcare technology business to be successful, having a buyer persona will give the organization more insight into the people who make the purchasing decisions; these customers can include the committees of doctors and department heads, executives. By doing this, the company will discover:
The length of the purchasing process (which can extend up to a year in some cases)
Objections and pushbacks
The technical know-how of the end-user
The amount of training it might take for staff to get used to new technology
The major problems faced by the customer
Moreover, such data and research will help the business to:
Prepare training materials
Allocate research and development funds
Overcome pushback and make the product more user-friendly
Plan and schedule content across various stages of the marketing funnel
Generate empathy with the buyer and make finding the solutions to problems a priority
With all the aforementioned information, businesses are empowered to align their marketing, messaging, and product with the buyer’s persona.
The result? New customers and repeat business.
Marketing Personas and their Purpose
A marketing persona is a fictional character built through extensive research. It personifies your ideal customer, and it isn't built on vague ideas, but rather on facts pulled from market research, interviews, and feedback forms, as well as research gathered from employees who are in direct contact with the customers.
The objective is to gather accurate and real information; clearly this is more accurate than strategies formulated only onstatistics.
The buyer persona can be used by various departments in an organization to create better products, marketing campaigns, sales strategies, and loyalty programs.
Its main objective is to help you and your employees make data-driven decisions.
Developing a Marketing Persona
In actuality, marketing personas are developed in multiple stages in which you start with broad approach, and narrow it down to the key traits.
Niche businesses will find it easier to pinpoint their ideal customer compared to businesses that sell multiple products. Therefore, it's recommended to create multiple buyer personas for different market segments.
First, start with basic information such as your ideal customer’s age, salary, gender, department, job title,personality type, city, country, and demographic information of their company. Use a list of customers or interview prospects and customers to gather this important information.
Second, it’s vital to arrange interviews with your customers to gain a deeper level of understanding about them and their buying journey. Develop a template with interview questions to record information about:
Their role in their organization
Goals and important key performance indicators
Similar products they’ve used in the past
The main benefit of your product
New uses of your product that you didn’t market or think of
The product buying cycle and the people involved
Make sure to adjust the questions depending on whether you’re interviewing the actual buyer or the end-user of the product.
In short, developing amarketing personainvolves a lot of research, data gathering, and number crunching. However, once it’s created, your business will improve greatly.
What Parts of Strategy do Marketing Personas Affect?
It's important to mention that marketing personas can affect several major and minor strategies spanning all three levels of business strategy, corporate, business-unit, and market-level.
Here are some decisive strategies affected by marketing personas:
1. Objective strategies
When you design objective strategies with your buyer persona in mind, you’ll have a clear vision of the direction of your company’s decisions.
Marketing personas can influence objective strategies such as:
Expanding into a new market
Serving a target market in a different age group
Stopping or starting the production of a product
Collaborating with a company your target audience cares about
Creating a company culture
Since you and your team will have a better idea of what your customers want, your objective strategies will bring in faster results.
Here are some examples:
If a hiking product company discovers that its core customer base consists of families with kids, the company can expand into producing hiking gear and apparel specifically designed for children.
A ride-hailing service business that caters to young professionals can start offering audiobook services in their vehicles so their customers are entertained during their rides.
David Norton and Robert Kaplan write in their book, The Balanced Scorecard, that 90% of organizations fail to execute their strategies successfully. This figure demonstrates that the inability to understand the customer's expectations is one of the barriers that prevent businesses from achieving their goals.
2. Content Marketing Strategy
Buyer personas are mainly developed by marketing teams, and they can be used in conjunction with:
Creating marketing materials
Selecting the right marketing channels
Allocating marketing budget
Developing a content calendar
Choosing the right traditional marketing method
The list goes on, but having a customer persona will remove the guesswork from yourmarketing campaigns.
We're aware of the element of uncertainty that exists in marketing. As the former United States Postmaster General John Wanamaker described, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.”
Taking inspiration from the buyer persona to create your marketing strategy will remove some of the uncertainty.
A buyer persona is used to plan both traditional anddigital marketing strategies. Billboards, flyers and brochures, direct mail, and television advertorials are still used by many businesses. To put this into context, a business owner can invest in billboards if their ideal customers do a lot of commuting.
Buyer personas are greatly useful in the creation of a content strategy which is beneficial for:
Coming up with ideas for various types of relevant content
Selecting the content format (Examples: video,infographics, blog posts, podcasts, e-books, and white papers.)
Using the right channels to market to the customer (Examples: YouTube ads, search engine ads, social media ads, email marketing, and guest blogging)
Selecting the right social media channel (Examples: Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, and Twitter.)
Content marketing without planning is a sure-shot way to ensure failure.
3. Delivery strategy
Delivery strategy is all about how your business delivers the product to the customer. Having a solid delivery strategy makes the most sense for eCommerce businesses. A buyer persona can help you save costs on delivery methods and satisfy customers.
Research finds that product delivery has a big impact on customer satisfaction:84% of customers are unlikely to shop again after a poor delivery experience from a brand.
One example is that many consumers are becoming environmentally conscious and appreciate plain and minimal packaging. Therefore, you can use recycled cardboard and print a simple message on the package asking the customer to recycle the packaging. Customers will appreciate this gesture;Trivium Packaging found that 74% of the consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable packaging.
Knowing the profile of your audiences and their preferences can guide your delivery strategy planning in several other ways. For instance, if you know your target customer spends most of their time at home, you can opt for an affordable delivery service.
On the contrary, if your core customer base consists of busy executives who move around a lot, investing in the fastest delivery methods will be a good idea.
Choose between business trends like self-delivery (your staff delivers the product) and third-party delivery (you hire a company to do the deliveries). If you have the infrastructure and your client base is reasonably close to your business, self-delivery makes perfect sense, especially if it helps you save costs.
Your buyer profile will help you create your delivery strategy by answering questions such as:
Do your customers live nearby?
Does offering fast delivery make sense?
Will your customers be inclined to pay online, by credit card, or cash?
Data gathered to create a marketing persona can be a goldmine of inspiration for your research and development (R&D) department.
Marketing personas can guide your team and help them determine which features to add and which ones to avoid.
Some new features and developments can make a big difference in the client's revenue, while some won't make a dent in it.
For example, the decision of a luggage brand to make its travel bags waterproof can bring about a steep increase in sales, but adding extra storage pockets might not affect sales as much.
A marketing persona can reveal about what your customers care. Your R&D team can focus its efforts on adding features that will have a big positive impact on sales.
Moreover, your marketing persona holds valuable information about when not to upgrade your product:
Does your core customer base have enough disposable income to buy frequent upgrades?
Will it make more sense to launch a new product or upgrade the current product?
Will your core customer base be able to quickly adapt to your innovations?
Having answers to such questions will also make your R&D team relate to the problems, ambitions, spending habits, and the goals of your customer.
Several long-established companies have undergone multiple rebranding campaigns. Changing customer perspectives and technological advancements are forcing companies to rebrand in order to stay relevant. On average, businesses rebrandevery 7-10 years.
And what should your branding or rebranding strategy be? The marketing persona holds the answer.
Your branding campaign should take inspiration from customers:
Role in their industry
The average customer is shifting towards companies that are responsive, ethical, environmentally conscious, have a great culture, and put customers first. Moreover, it's important to take certain branding elements into consideration that speak directly to the customer's emotions and attract them further. One example is with the creation ofcat cafes in which you can cuddle with cats while enjoying coffee. In fact, according to research, one-third of customers have a brand in mind when they go shopping.
Businesses trying to expand into newer market segments should do their research and create a buyer persona before launching a product or starting any marketing campaigns.
Consider the following example of rebranding: A vintage perfume brand can work with young influencers to attract Millenials and members of Gen Z. The perfume brand might have to rework its suave brand image to offer something more upbeat.
Innovative software likeBreakthrough makes branding work simple and fast. It allows you to build a solid branding strategy without paying a high consultancy price.
6. Product Differentiation Strategy
Basing your product differentiation strategy on your marketing persona can stop you from becoming a “me-too” business. Despite the pandemic, 2020 Q4 witnessedmore startups compared to 2019 Q4.
Marketing personas will give you insight about how you can differentiate your product in the market.
Being known as an innovative and a user-friendly brand
Maintaining a positive user experience
Adopting sustainable practices
Tuning your brand voice with your marketing persona
Providing a unique point-of-purchase experience
Supporting just causes
Giving back to society
Businesses that compete at the national and international level can extract huge benefits by aligning their product with their ideal customer’s expectations.
7. Pricing strategy
Customers don't mind paying more for a better experience. Accenturesurveyed 6,000 consumers across 11 countries, and more than half of them were willing to pay more for sustainable products.
What should your pricing strategy be? Again, the answer lies in the marketing persona.
Some customers will happily pay a premium for better value, while some customers go for bargains.
An apparel brand can price its products low for people who cycle through clothes fast and buy new clothes every season. These customers value fashionable clothes over the durability of the fibers.
The opposite can be said for premium textile brands that manufacture clothes that last for a half-decade.
A pricing strategy will guide you as you expand your market share or introduce a new product.
You can use the buyer persona to introduce offers and discounts. Data will help you answer questions like:
Why do people visit your brand outlets?
What qualities of your brand attract your customers?
What is your customers’ income level?
What value do they get out of your product?
What are their ambitions?
You can create loyalty programs that entice your customers. According to areport published in 2019, 89% of online U.S. customers are part of some kind of loyalty program.
For example, if a coffee shop learns that a significant portion of its customer base is interested in gaming, it can collaborate with an online game store to offer discounts to customers whenever they purchase a new game.
Use Persona Mapping to Grow Your Leads
Every modern business should invest resources in persona mapping. Once it’s in place, your whole team can take inspiration from it to make better business decisions.
If you want to gain valuable insights into your target audience, tryBreakthrough. This innovative and powerful tool is built for organizations that want to scale their growth by basing their strategies on concrete market data.Register today!