Creating Buyer Personas: Translating the Data into RealityAugust 13, 2014
For any marketing agency, buyer personas are a crucial step in the process of a campaign. Building buyer personas with your team will allow you to easily see your campaign from the audience’s perspective, in order to target to needs rather than assumptions. Simply put, buyer personas put a face on the analytics.
So what is a buyer persona exactly? It’s an outline, detailing the desires, needs, personality of your target audience based on analytic data you compiled of your audience. It can be as detailed as is needed for the project. It should allow you to visualize your buyer, to ask questions as to how this person would react to your efforts, and to hopefully help you narrow your audience within your individual campaign.
Building Your Personas
All of the analytics and testing you do has no purpose unless you can use that to target your audience. So how do you build out your persona?
You are trying to understand where you will target an audience for a new t-shirt line for a client that specializes in hand manufactured clothing for men. Analytics tells you that traffic to the client’s site comes from specific demographics.
Let’s say that the two largest demographic sets are men 18-25 and men 25-30. The largest conversions to purchase are men 25-30. But traffic is way up for the 18-25 bracket. You have 2 different personas at work here, let’s give them a name. Chad Chi will represent our 18-25 persona, Wayne Werk will represent the 25-30 demographic. We also know that the two largest income sets come from household incomes of 30-40K and 40-50K. The majority of our audience is urban or suburban, and college educated. We found out that the majority are single, or married without kids. Our audience is most active on social networks like twitter and facebook. So we begin to have a picture of what this audience looks like.
At this point, it’s helpful to create a basic visual template so you can start building on the information:
By coming up with a few basic fields, you can see what you’ll be looking for. What you want to try to do here is get as many details as possible about a character to trigger your imagination. That way, when you’re faced with questions about how to market to a persona, and what angles you need, you can have those answers readily available. It’s important to make these personas as realistic as possible. Try to surmise, by every data point you’ve gathered, what this person looks and acts like.
The motivation factor is mostly based on educated guesses, but this (for me) is the part where you can have the most fun. Here, you should try to be creative, understand the basic human condition and pull from your own experiences of what you believe this person would look like. One way to help you visualize a persona is by pulling up a visual of a famous actor, cartoon character, etc., so that you might be able to use them as an avatar for the character. Again, get as detailed as possible, understand how that character would answer questions.
Team feedback is key in this exercise. Everyone has their own unique experiences and understandings of the potential psyche of our clients. It’s far too easy for your own preconceived notions about your data, life experiences, and psyche to skew the persona in a way that makes it unrealistic and useless.
The persona will become fuller and richer over time from information as you get to know the character, just like any good relationship. Without strong personas you could be taking a risk that the marketing strategies you’re implementing will fall flat. This is a time consuming process, but it’s a valuable and irreplaceable aspect of marketing that can show you exactly who you’re trying to reach.