Buyer Personas: Who Are You Selling To?

Have you ever walked into a store and thought, “Wow, this store really gets me!”? Then that store has done an excellent job marketing to their buyer persona. As a product creator or marketer, you’ve surely thought about your ideal customer. With careful research, you can target that ideal customer by creating a buyer persona, which shows your customer’s likes, dislikes, buying habits, motivations, and more. Buyer personas ultimately help you build the most targeted approach to all facets of your digital marketing.

What are buyer personas?

In simple terms, a buyer persona is a somewhat realistic representation of your ideal customer based on market and demographic research, as well as real data about your current customers. The more detailed the buyer persona, the better. A buyer persona should include all there is to know about the customer—their demographics, shopping behavior patterns, motivations, what they want from your product, etc. It showcases the ideal customer you’re trying to attract and helps fuel a marketing plan that centers on customer acquisition and retention.

Here’s a snippet of an example buyer persona. Meet “Jennifer.”

  • Demographics
    • Age: 34
    • Stay At Home Mom
    • Homeowner
    • Family Income: $65,000
    • BS in Management from University of Indiana
    • Married, three children
    • Previously worked at Comcast for three years before deciding to stay home with children
  • Her Goals And Values
    • Be a good mother and wife to her family
    • Prides herself on managing and sticking to family budget
    • Wants what’s best for her family. Providing quality meals, clothes, and toys are important to her
    • Family time is very important to her. Loves to host family dinners at her home
  • Her Ideal Shopping Experience
    • Find quality items at low prices
    • Wants to find everything on her list at one store
    • Clean environment for her kids to be in
    • Friendly service for when she’s in a rush

Why should you have them?

Buyer personas provide incredible structure and understanding for your product and marketing. Creating a detailed buyer persona will help guide your time, where to focus your product development, and allow for a clear idea of who you are marketing to. By knowing the type of person you want to buy your products, you are able to create more targeted campaigns and products that make more lasting impressions with consumers.

Where do I start?

A great way to start creating buyer personas for your brand is to interview a number of people in your target audience that might be your ideal customer. There are plenty of places to find people to interview, but a great place to start is with your current customers. Your current customers have already purchased your product and developed a relationship with your brand. You will find that a number of these people fit your initial target buyer persona.

Another surprisingly good place to look for interviewees is in your “bad” customers. They offer insight into what they do not like and what challenges they face with your products. In these interviews, start with 3-5 people and get to know their demographics and personalities. Be sure to ask a lot of “why” questions to not only get to know your buyer’s motivations and shopping patterns, but to learn who they are and why they would buy, or not buy, your products.

You’ll naturally start to notice patterns that will lead you to create your ultimate buyer persona. Ultimately, you will use this data to develop targeted messages and sales conversations.

Real Business Examples

It’s certainly not an easy feat pulling this alignment off, but some big names out there deserve an applause for their great work. One great example is Seventeen magazine. Seventeen capitalizes on the struggles their buyer persona, an everyday teenaged girl, goes through and provides a source of information young girls can relate to.

Another example of an expert buyer persona creator is the retail store Target. In the past few years, Target has taken a completely different approach with their branding and it has to do with their buyer personas and the need to fulfill a “cool” brand image. Target knows that its ideal shopper is a young woman looking to save money all while buying high-quality, expensive-looking, trendy products. According to Content Equals Money, Target capitalized on this by partnering with major designers and offering affordable Target/designer brands to this style savvy young woman. Both brands have truly gotten to know their shoppers and built strategies around their buyer personas.