Marketers cannot speak effectively through content if they don’t understand the needs, desires, and challenges of their potential customers. Marketing materials must be generated with an understanding of the targeted individuals, in order to convey why the product or service is relevant to those consumers.
Buyer personas—the detailed descriptions of target customer segments—allow marketers to define exactly who they are marketing to, in order to tailor their materials accordingly. This leads to more engaging content, and ultimately, drives more sales.
In this article, we’ll explore how buyer personas work and dive into some real-world examples.
The Importance of Buyer Personas
It’s a pretty straightforward goal to create content that resonates with customers, but there are a number of specific wins that come with it for a business and its customers:
- Higher conversions. Content that people can relate to simply sells more. Ideally, it demonstrates a solution to their real-world problem(s), so that they have a reason to buy.
- More engagement. Even if the customers don’t initially buy, they may have a network of those that could use the product or service. The more engaging the content, the greater the likelihood they’ll likely share it within their network of friends or co-workers, which can drive organic traffic.
- Better product knowledge. If customers can relate to the problem that the product or service solves, they’ll better understand the solution and why it matters. This means you can get straight to the point in your marketing and spend less time building context at the top of funnel.
Finer grain segmentation. When you run ads targeted at specific personas rather than just unloading them to all potential customers, you’ll generate data that can be used to more efficiently market to the user segments associated with those personas. Strategically using email lists, your Facebook Ads Manager, social media followers, etc., will allow you to better understand the different segments of your customer base. This is particularly useful for remarketing.
What Is Included in the Buyer Persona Template?
A buyer persona is a description of a person and their consumer preferences, and the options for how you craft a buyer persona are practically endless. However, there are several that can be particularly useful from a marketing perspective. Some examples include:
- Name: A made-up persona name may seem silly, but it can be useful for helping a marketing team discuss their customers and make it more tangible for planning how to reach them
- Age: The age or age range of a persona allows for understanding generation-specific characteristics.
- Interests: What are their hobbies? What do they like to do in their spare time? These types of questions can help shape the theme of the content that they are likely to engage with.
- Media Usage: The media platforms and channels they use will impact how and where they can be reached.
- Finances: Their income and other financial characteristics will determine what types of products or services they’re shown and what price point or promotions might make sense.
- Brand Affinities: If they like certain brands, this can provide hints as to what kind of content they respond well to.
B2B Buyer Persona Examples
Business-to-business (B2B) buyer personas are customers that are looking to purchase products or services on behalf of their business. This could be an employee or a business owner depending on the product. While consumer buyer personas focus on individuals’ personal lives and interests, B2B buyer personas are designed to understand what type of challenges they face in the work environment and what they could use to be more successful in their jobs and careers.
John The Marketing Manager
John Johnson, a B2B persona created by ClearVoice, is a 30 year old marketing manager in the software and technology industry. We know that John has the challenge of improving conversion rates on his website by creating more relevant content for his customers. Therefore, if we can provide John with actionable ways for him to solve this challenge, he’s likely to want to engage and ultimately purchase.
This persona is substantial because it defines a specific need that can be fulfilled. However, it could be useful to define characteristics like pet peeves or brand affinity to help understand how he will likely respond to different types of content. Does he get annoyed by overly promotional material? Does he like downloadable research reports and e-books that he can share with colleagues?
Jill The Frequent Flying Regional Director
Jill Anderson, a B2B persona created by Xtensio, is a 35 year old regional director who is constantly on the road. She spends too much time booking her work travel and is frustrated by the number of websites she has to visit to book her trips. Since she travels for work, she’s primarily motivated by comfort and convenience.
It’s clear from this persona that Jill has a problem that can be solved by a product or service that can save her time and extra work. It also provides valuable brand affinity information that shows what types of services she currently uses, which will save her time in this category. This persona could be improved a bit by being more clear what type of traveling she tends to do. Is she mostly flying and staying in airport hotels? Does she need to rent cars? Is she flying economy or business class? This information allows marketers to tune their content more specifically to best relate to her lifestyle and problems.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) buyer personas are customers that are looking to purchase products or services for their own use. This means that the marketing is more tailored to their personal interests and needs, rather than that of a separate organization.
Sarah The Cautious Insurance Customer
Sarah, a B2C persona created by Uxpressia, is a cautious life insurance customer looking for guidance. She doesn’t feel comfortable with high-pressure sales tactics and seeks warm guidance on making a purchase decision. She’s also overwhelmed by all the options and distrusts industry jargon.
The persona makes it clear that Sarah wants a sales representative to patiently walk her through the options for an insurance plan, in plain English, and with no overly promotional or aggressive sales tactics. However, it’s less clear about who Sarah is and what her goals are. Why is she looking to purchase life insurance now? Does she have a family? What’s her background? This is valuable information that can allow marketers to appeal to her specific circumstances and provide more relevant content.
Stacey The Cost-Sensitive College Student Looking for Good Coffee
Stacey, a B2C persona created by DisruptiveAdvertising, is a 20-year-old college student that drinks a lot of coffee to keep up with her school work and freelance jobs. She likes higher quality coffee brands but comes from a lower income family and has student debt. Stacey is active on social media and looks for good deals and coupons.
This persona explains very well what is important to Sarah—namely, quality coffee at a good value. Given that she likes a good deal, a promotion is likely a good way to engage her on her favorite social media platforms. Unlike B2B personas, Stacey’s profile is more focused on personal interests and struggles, rather than her career and professional needs.
Scaling Content Personalization Through Marketing Automation
Creating buyer personas allows marketers to tailor their content specifically to the needs of their target customer segments. This provides more engaging content that customers understand and improves the likelihood of conversion. However, doing so at scale requires a marketing automation platform that can allow for a wide array of personalized content across various platforms. Adobe’s Marketo Engage provides all the tools necessary to do so and track the buyer journey over time. Download the Buyer Persona Cheat Sheet to learn how your business can use buyer personas to create more engaging and personalized content.