3 Essential Buyer Personas Every Marketing Campaign Must Address

To reach the right cus­tomer with the right mes­sage at the right time on the right chan­nel, you need to under­stand all of your poten­tial buy­ers.

Kirsten Butzow By Kirsten Butzow from Pragmatic Marketing. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Know­ing all of the buy­ers who influ­ence the sale, and devel­op­ing detailed per­sonas for each, enables you to cre­ate pow­er­ful mar­ket­ing roadmaps. You’ll reach buy­ers in the right place with the right mes­sages at the right time to dri­ve the rev­enue nee­dle.

Few mar­keters have enough con­fi­dence in their buy­er per­cep­tion to define, defend, and deliv­er strate­gies that don’t con­form with the company’s inter­nal per­spec­tive. Lack­ing a detailed under­stand­ing of buy­ers means you run the risk of mak­ing deci­sions based on inad­e­quate infor­ma­tion and try­ing to per­suade buy­ers who sim­ply don’t care.  This approach can lead to per­fect­ly good prod­ucts that fail because the com­pa­ny doesn’t iden­ti­fy and com­mu­ni­cate with buy­ers who have the real need. How do you com­bat that? The sure­fire way to reach and influ­ence poten­tial buy­ers is to iden­ti­fy who they are and get to know them. Per­sonas are the per­fect vehi­cle for these efforts. The pow­er­ful infor­ma­tion per­sonas pro­vide will help you cre­ate an effec­tive mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy that res­onates with poten­tial buy­ers.

Demographics vs. Personas

Many mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sion­als sim­ply gath­er demo­graph­ic infor­ma­tion and call it a day. How­ev­er, a sim­ple cat­e­go­riza­tion of your buy­ers’ age, sex, income sta­tus, and occu­pa­tion isn’t enough to direct a cohe­sive and effec­tive mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. What exact­ly is a buy­er per­sona? It goes well beyond demo­graph­ics to iden­ti­fy a pro­to­type or arche­type of your poten­tial buy­ers. It’s cre­at­ed from research you con­duct with poten­tial buy­ers and exist­ing cus­tomers via direct con­ver­sa­tions and ana­lyz­ing their behav­iors online and off. (Read more about this in 6 Keys to Cre­ate Per­fect Mar­ket­ing Per­sonas.) To illus­trate this, let’s say you have a sales enable­ment soft­ware for mid-sized busi­ness­es. From your per­sona research you’ve iden­ti­fied three pri­ma­ry buy­ers: Tom, a sales rep; There­sa, a region­al sales man­ag­er; and Philip, the direc­tor of IT. All three work for the same com­pa­ny, but have dif­fer­ent motives and chal­lenges.

  • Tom is moti­vat­ed to con­tin­u­al­ly improve his sales per­for­mance to meet the demands of ever-increas­ing quo­ta. Meet­ing quo­ta enables him to remain employed, and exceed­ing quo­ta helps him increase his income and pay for his daughter’s pricey tuition. Tom is con­tin­u­al­ly chal­lenged by hav­ing to ful­fill oth­er demands like report­ing, meet­ings and respond­ing to inter-office email, all of which take away from his valu­able sell­ing time. He’s ded­i­cat­ed to work­ing hard, but work/life bal­ance is also impor­tant. Tom finds per­son­al val­ue in keep­ing on top of trends in sales tac­tics and ways to stream­line pro­duc­tiv­i­ty. As such, he rou­tine­ly starts his morn­ings read­ing blogs and fol­low­ing indi­vid­u­als on Twit­ter who cov­er those top­ics.
  • There­sa, also moti­vat­ed to meet quo­ta, is under pres­sure to ensure she has the best sales team with­in the com­pa­ny. This means she needs to track per­for­mance, devel­op a plan for coach­ing, iden­ti­fy sol­id can­di­dates to onboard and report to the C‑suite. Since she over­sees a region that includes sev­er­al states, she is extreme­ly busy and trav­els con­stant­ly. Most of her job is done via mobile phone.
  • Phillip is the ulti­mate gate­keep­er of any soft­ware imple­ment­ed through­out the com­pa­ny. He is the head of IT and comes with a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent set of motives and needs.

So which per­sona should you mar­ket to? Who is real­ly your poten­tial cus­tomer? The answer: all three. Tom, There­sa, and Phillip each rep­re­sent three dif­fer­ent per­sona types:

  • A func­tion­al buy­er, the indi­vid­ual who will be the pri­ma­ry user of the prod­uct.
  • An eco­nom­ic buy­er, the indi­vid­ual in charge of the purse strings or bud­get for a pur­chase.
  • A tech­ni­cal buy­er, the per­son respon­si­ble for review­ing the prod­uct against com­pa­ny stan­dards and require­ments.

Ensur­ing that you have mar­ket­ing pro­grams and mate­r­i­al designed for all three is the secret to a tru­ly suc­cess­ful mar­ket­ing pro­gram.

Appealing To Various Personas

By under­stand­ing these three dif­fer­ent buy­er types — and devel­op­ing detailed per­sonas for each — you can more clear­ly iden­ti­fy the types of mar­ket­ing mes­sages and chan­nels that will reach each one.

  • Mar­ket­ing to the func­tion­al buy­er: Tom wants to know about usabil­i­ty and how the prod­uct will make him a rock star. You can begin to iden­ti­fy the types of media out­lets he con­sumes and direct your adver­tis­ing and PR efforts to them. Because you also inti­mate­ly under­stand the prob­lems and chal­lenges he faces, you can direct­ly appeal to those in the mate­r­i­al.
  • Mar­ket­ing to the eco­nom­ic buy­er: With There­sa (the eco­nom­ic buy­er), it’s easy to see that any mar­ket­ing will need to be short, punchy and address things like effec­tive­ness, pric­ing and how the tool will make her job eas­i­er. And the mar­ket­ing may be more effec­tive when deliv­ered via mobile, whether that’s in-app adver­tis­ing or pro­mot­ed posts on social net­works. Know­ing that she con­stant­ly trav­els opens up addi­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties for mar­ket­ing through air­line pub­li­ca­tions, hotels, or trans­porta­tion orga­ni­za­tions.
  • Mar­ket­ing to the tech­ni­cal buy­er: Phillip wants to know how the soft­ware will improve com­pa­ny effi­cien­cies, how long it will take to imple­ment and get the sales force up to speed, and whether it inte­grates well with oth­er sys­tems in place. Phillip may be influ­enced by online reviews from rep­utable sources, indus­try influ­encers, sug­ges­tions from oth­er IT col­leagues, and sug­ges­tions from the inter­nal team. That infor­ma­tion should spark all kinds of ideas for reach­ing Phillip.
Kirsten Butzow

Written by Kirsten Butzow

Certified instructor, Pragmatic Marketing

Kirsten Butzow is a Pragmatic Marketing certified instructor with more than 20 years' experience as a product manager and marketing leader working with well-known technology companies, including Fujitsu, Pearson, Blackboard and most recently Parchment. She has held vice president roles for the past 10 years and has directed product management portfolios, developed and drove business plans and strategic product roadmaps, and led teams in excess of 100 people.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

Discover why brands and agencies choose Linkdex

  • Get started fast with easy onboarding & training
  • Import and connect data from other platforms
  • Scale with your business, websites and markets
  • Up-skill teams with training & accreditation
  • Build workflows with tasks, reporting and alerts

Get a free induction and experience of Linkdex.

Just fill out this form, and one of our team members will get in touch to arrange your own, personalized demo.