Are Buyer Personas Helpful to Marketers?
Marketers often use buyer personas when developing their marketing plans and content marketing strategies. Buyer personas are fictional representations of “typical” customers. Having a complete profile of each type of customer means you can target your marketing efforts with pinpoint precision, but how helpful are these efforts? According to a survey conducted by Tony Zambito in 2016, only 30% of marketers said their buyer personas were effective, but that number doubled from 2105. These low numbers are likely because typically, marketers base much of their profiling on what they already know about their customers through their regular sales and marketing channels. In the previously mentioned survey, 60% of marketers reported they were frustrated by this method of extracting customer information.
This reminds me of a story a colleague once told me about what happened when he presented his marketing communications plan to a client. They were reviewing the plan together and after they finished going through the buyer personas, the client said, “What’s this sh** for?” It was a humbling experience that really speaks to the importance of integrating data into your planning (he did not). Marketers should assume nothing about buyers because the real value of your buyer personas completely depends on the quality and source of the information collected.
Conducting primary market research to support the development of buyer personas will give you a complete view of your customers and allow you to truly get inside their heads. This could involve such things as online surveys, focus groups and interviews. When conducting your research, include a wide range of questions aimed at providing information about buyer preferences, triggers, how decisions are made, barriers, etc. Also, consider the value of information other industry professionals could provide. The goal is to get a complete understanding of all facets of your customer so your marketing efforts will be more effective.
One approach to creating buyer personas is to do a first person account of what their typical day looks like. It doesn’t need to be done in this way, but it is widely believed to be the best approach. Whatever your approach, the idea of using these personas is to help the marketer understand what problems customers have that need solving. This is great for understanding how your product helps them and also in developing companion products. Content Marketing Institute has a terrific post about exactly how to create your buyer personas. You should check it out.
I love marketing, so I always see the value. Not all business owners understand how important the process is, however. Marketing should never feel like a useless endeavor or a necessary evil, and God knows your client or boss, should never feel like you are presenting him with useless garbage. Back your work up with stats, because when done correctly, using buyer personas in your marketing plan really works!
Few public relations & communications specialists have as diverse a background as Renée Cormier. Add published author, employee engagement specialist, sales and marketing strategist, entrepreneur and educator to her list of accomplishments. In her career Renée has held leadership roles in sales and marketing, developed and implemented national marketing strategies and was responsible for teams as large as 28 strong. She brings a wide range of experience and talent to her work.
Renée really shines in marketing communications. She is known for developing and implementing comprehensive communications strategies and generating results through flawless implementation. With such strong business acumen, passion for her work and a natural talent for business strategy, Renée is definitely considered an important resource for her clients. Is your business in transition? Do you need help with your communications or public relations efforts? Contact Renée through her website.
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