Unlocking the secrets of your ideal customer is like discovering a treasure map in the world of marketing. In this digital age, understanding your buyer persona isn’t just a choice; it’s a strategic necessity.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and real data about your existing customers. It encompasses demographic information, behaviors, preferences, and pain points to help businesses tailor their marketing and product strategies effectively.
My First Buyer Persona at PayLane (Years Ago)
One of the first things I did after recruiting the initial team for the marketing department at PayLane was to gather and identify our ideal customer. This individual would be interested in our services, the target of our advertisements, and the primary reader of our company blog.
And this is how Tom Banks was born
Tom Banks (or Mr. Banks) is an invented character who was supposed to be the person to whom we direct our services. In short: he was a young businessman, dressed in a suit and yellow sneakers. On the one hand, someone serious and elegant. Entrepreneur. On the other hand, a person who is still young at heart, not afraid of innovative solutions. . Tom is someone deeply involved in modern business practices, particularly in internet or online enterprises, and in my conception, he has always embodied the spirit of a startup enthusiast or serial entrepreneur. While not necessarily limited to startups, Tom primarily represents a SaaS business owner with aspirations for global success
Our Banks had a Facebook account (not anymore)
We also had photos of his birth.
There were periods in our company when we lost sight of Mr. Banks. We were occasionally enticed by companies that didn’t align with his characteristics, and their names held such allure that we devoted excessive attention to them. This frequently resulted in unfavorable outcomes for us. However, whenever we returned to our roots, to Mr. Banks, I always sensed that we were back on the right path. This was the trajectory I followed throughout my tenure at PayLane, and I adhered to it to the best of my ability.
Why do you need a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is more than just an individual deserving of your attention. They are the primary focus of your marketing and sales efforts, representing the core audience purchasing your services. Your offer and website should be crafted with them in mind. When communicating with users, or fans, consider their needs. These needs should guide the design of new functionalities in your online product. Even when selecting team members for your company, keep your buyer persona in mind. In essence, a buyer persona is synonymous with your customer – your ideal client.
Buyer persona – an example
Let’s imagine you run an online store specializing in sports equipment for water sports, such as windsurfing, kitesurfing, and wakeboarding.
Who could be your buyer persona? A male, approximately 25 years old, fresh out of college and eager to make the most of his remaining free time before diving into a full-time job. He’s budget-conscious due to his recent graduation, but he’s in pursuit of thrilling experiences. He’s searching for equipment that can deliver that excitement, prioritizing fun above all else. His attire leans towards casual, perfect for holidays: a loose T-shirt, hoodie, shorts, and sneakers. Physically fit and enthusiastic about sports, especially water activities, he enjoys the company of like-minded individuals who share his passion for physical pursuits.
A few things that come from of this description:
- This individual is a young man of approximately 25 years old, and when addressing him in all communication, you can use the informal ‘you’ form without any awkwardness.
- He’s a recent graduate who’s tech-savvy and comfortable with online shopping.
- As your target audience, he prefers visual content, so your online presence should focus primarily on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest. Twitter and LinkedIn may not be as relevant.
- Being a recent graduate, he’s budget-conscious, so offering competitive prices for your sports equipment is essential. High-end products might not be the best fit for him.
- This guy is actively seeking cool events and exciting experiences to make the most of his last holiday moments. Consider offering special events or activities for water sports enthusiasts as part of your offerings.
- In terms of style, he dresses casually, often resembling a surfer with his attire. Consider offering a bonus T-shirt for large orders or as a gesture of goodwill in case of delivery delays…
These insights can help tailor your marketing efforts, website design, and product offerings to resonate with your target audience, primarily young men like him.
How detailed should you describe your persona?
As precisely as possible. The better you know your customer, the more things you will know about him – and the better you will adapt your offer to him, the better he will feel with your service and the more willing he will be to become your customer. The more likely he is to recommend you.
Does your customer need to know who your buyer persona is?
Of course not. This is for you. This is to help you design websites, businesses, prepare offers, etc. It is definitely worth introducing all your colleagues to the buyer persona (so that everyone knows exactly who their target customer is). And as for customers? You can inform them, but you don’t have to. As you wish.
What if the customer doesn’t have the characteristics of a buyer persona?
As long as your products or services meet his needs – nothing. In your online surf shop that caters to 25-year-old guys, you may have 50-year-old buyers. There’s nothing wrong with it.
It is important not to focus on them. Do not change services at their dictation. Don’t adapt your product to a user who is not your target, ideal customer.
Can a buyer persona change over time?
Of course! It is not always the case that we know who our ideal client is from the first day. Sometimes you need a pivot, sometimes you need to change your initial plans and adapt to market realities.
If you are trying at all costs to reach a group of people who do not want to use your product, it may be worth considering changing the target group to one that will need your service.
Of course, it is important here not to force anything. Don’t you feel good in a suit when talking to managers of huge corporations, with an average age of 50+? Nothing by force. If you direct your service to them, sooner or later you will have enough. It’s your business, your product, your service. You spend too much time every day working with people you don’t feel comfortable with.
Is it worth visualizing your persona?
While not obligatory, I highly recommend it. It’s often more comfortable to engage with someone we can visualize, or at least have an idea of their appearance. Additionally, photos can convey valuable insights about a person. Having a visual reference can make it easier for us to empathize and better cater to their needs.
Ultimately, the buyer persona can be a fictional character created by a graphic designer (as we did with Mr. Banks), but I would also recommend actual photos of a real person.
Can a company have more than just one buying persona?
Yes, there may be multiple personas, but having too many can dilute your understanding of the target audience.
You can offer a variety of products that are enthusiastically purchased by diverse customer groups. For instance, you may operate a store that sells both men’s and women’s clothing, each requiring a distinct buyer persona.
Likewise, if you provide a service or application used by individuals in different roles, consider a project management tool as an example. Various departments, such as IT, marketing, and legal, may be involved in projects, leading to the existence of distinct buyer personas.
Furthermore, allow me to share a personal example from my current situation
Let’s focus on z3x. Within our range of services, we offer FinTech software development. In this particular scenario, our target buyer persona is the CTO of a FinTech company based in Europe. This differs from our approach to a marketplace CTO, for whom we provide marketplace software development services, and is entirely distinct from our strategy for engaging with CEOs of FinTech companies or C-level executives in compliance and operations, who are our audience for regulation services in FinTech. Similarly, CEOs and CMOs of various FinTech and marketplace entities are directed toward our FinTech marketing and marketplace marketing services. Within a single company, we cater to diverse buyer personas for various services.
The same holds true for other company, that we were working with. As a marketplace, we operate on at least two fronts: the supply side and the demand side. In this scenario, we encounter distinct buyer personas. On the supply side, we engage in B2B cooperation, while on the demand side, our focus is on animal owners/keepers and B2C cooperation. Going even deeper, you’ll notice that we have multiple buyer personas, as the approach differs when speaking with an e-commerce store about adding their products to our marketplace versus conversing with a veterinarian or groomer to include their companies in our database of pet specialists.
How to create the perfect buyer persona for a company, application or service?
Through research. It’s not advisable to rely solely on your own intuition and personal preferences. You’re not creating a service for yourself, but for your customers. The buyer persona may not necessarily match your initial expectations. Before identifying who your ideal client might be, I recommend following the process below:
- Establish a framework, for example, targeting small and medium-sized enterprises operating in the SaaS model within the Spanish market, each with a minimum of 10,000 unique users per month on their website.
- Conduct market research, such as examining which companies align with the framework you’ve established, their activities, their employee count, and their organizational positions.
- Verify if there are a sufficient number of such companies and assess the potential for establishing a profitable business based on them. If not, it’s necessary to return to step 1 and revise the initial assumptions. If there is potential, you can proceed.
- Determine who the decision-maker is within these companies, the individual responsible for procurement, investments, and new solution implementations related to your offerings. It’s important to identify the key decision-maker in the organization.
- Choose one of these companies as a model example of your dream company/client
- Research the decision-maker in the model company thoroughly. Use Google and various social networking sites to gather information about their appearance, role, activities, online content, age, interests, and social connections.
- In a similar way, check a person in a similar position from another company from among the companies that interest you
- And another one from another company
- Compare all the individuals you’ve researched. Assess whether the person from your initial model company shares similarities with individuals occupying similar positions in other companies. Look for commonalities or common characteristics among these individuals
- Based on these common characteristics – imagine (or draw) a picture of your dream client; Your buyer persona is exactly what is in front of your eyes
Are you ready to create your own persona?
Try, it’s worth it. If you need help, please contact us. We will be happy to answer all your questions