In a 360° marketing strategy the most crucial step is to understand who we are addressing in order to tailor the messages to be sent and the actions to be taken. There is a key tool for this: the buyer persona.
The buyer persona is a representation of the ideal customer of a company or a particular online marketing campaign. We could define it like this: In marketing, buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of ideal customers. They help you to define who is the audience you want to attract and convert and, above all, they help you to humanise and understand your target audience more deeply.
For its part, the Buyer Persona Institute points out that the buyer persona tells us what a particular consumer thinks or how he or she acts when evaluating their options, when facing a problem or need that the brand could solve.
We can say that it is a kind of 'identikit' of the potential customer, where we are going to define as many elements as possible, from their psychological profile, to their behaviour on social networks and in the purchasing process, to their socio-demographic profile.
Why is it necessary to define the buyer persona? The aim is for the brand or company to have a clear idea of its ideal customer in order to be able to plan, focus and implement the most effective all-round marketing strategies and campaigns with appropriate content and messages. In short, creating your buyer persona is essential to:
Better understand your current and potential customers.
Create and plan relevant campaigns and content.
Know when, how and where to communicate with them.
Define how you need to create your products and what types of services can meet customer needs.
By doing so, you will not only know what your target is, but you will also discover other interesting aspects such as their motivations, challenges, goals, etc.
How to create a buyer persona
Defining your ideal customer is not easy and the more concrete the marketing campaign becomes, the more complicated it will get. You will have to take into account a multitude of aspects and be much more specific in the information you collect. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Name the buyer person
Naming is important for two reasons:
It helps to identify it better.
The brand will have more than one ideal customer archetype.
A marketing campaign can be aimed at several types of buyers who, although they have different characteristics, may be interested in the product or service offered by the company. Therefore naming them differently will help you to identify them better.
2. Determine the work situation When constructing a buyer persona, you need to be able to answer some questions:
Is he/she a worker, unemployed or a student?
If he/she works, what kind of activity does he/she do?
What is your professional background?
These kinds of questions help to better understand the needs of our buyer person and to better define him/her.
3. Define the demographic data Demographic data within a marketing context is a usual and fundamental resource in profiling. Therefore, in this part of the job you need to include data such as age, gender, social class and geographical location (do you live in a big city or in a country?). All this is useful, e.g. when segmenting to better qualify leads and plan subsequent ad-hoc marketing strategies (especially in PPC campaigns).
4. Find out the online behaviour Analysing the habitual behaviour of your buyer person while surfing the internet is essential to understand how and where to communicate with them, what their interests are, what kind of content they use… Try to answer these questions:
How do you behave on the Internet?
Are you a regular reader of blogs?
Do you prefer multimedia content?
Do you regularly use e-mail?
Do you prefer more direct actions like a phone call?
Which social network, group or community do you belong to?
5. Define objectives, challenges and ambitions of the buyer persona The real value of this ideal customer archetype is that, thanks to this methodology, aspects that are often ignored in traditional marketing profiling are analysed. Some of these are, for example, the goals, concerns, dreams and hopes of the user or consumer.
These are the aspects that make it possible to establish a better connection and build a stronger bond, so work on them and try to define them as much as possible. It is therefore essential to answer these questions as well:
What does the buyer person want?
What objectives does he/she want to achieve?
What challenges does he/she face?
What dreams have they not yet managed to realise?
Can the company's products or services make his life easier?
Can they help him realise his goals?
6. Move from questions to action Once you know their motivations, try to understand how your product or service can help them solve a problem, satisfy a need or simply improve their day.. Here are some necessary questions at this stage:
How can the brand or company help the customer achieve their goals?
What impediments might the potential customer have when buying your product or service?
What can the competition offer to make them choose their product or service over yours?
Which of the offered products is the most suitable for the buyer person?
Is it possible to create or adapt a product or service to the needs of the customer?
7. Put yourself in the customer's shoes
When defining and profiling the buyer persona it is necessary to include their concerns and difficulties. Examples of insights in this sense are: I can't lose weight, my e-commerce is not well positioned, I can't find a good English teacher for my son. Putting yourself in his shoes will help you to define him better. 8. Define the buyer person's expectations of the product If the ideal customer could formulate any doubts or complaints about the product, what would they be: the price? The quality? Anticipating the buyer persona's possible drawbacks or concerns will ensure that campaigns are more precise and in line with their expectations. Once this x-ray has been prepared, there are still two essential actions:
Design a message, i.e. a sentence that defines the ideal customer-oriented product;
Create an elevator pitch: a short description that concisely and effectively explains the advantages of the product or service offered to the buyer persona.
Where do we get the data to create a buyer persona?
As described above, to define a buyer persona well, we need to retrieve a set of data. But how do we get it? Obviously, we need to extract it from reliable sources if the work we do is to be truly useful. There are several ways to get the data we need:
By asking the customer directly: questionnaires, surveys, research on websites and blogs, etc. can be carried out.
By obtaining information from the company's employees, especially those who are in direct contact with consumers (targeting the public) or in customer service departments.
Analysing the keywords used to arrive at the brand or company's website to see which are the most used, on which search engines, etc.
Determining how people arrive at the content that has been published by the company and how it has been consumed: through comments, shares, recommendations...
Analysing the feedback consumers give on social networks and online forms.
Knowing what type of product (of the company in question or of the competition) they consume, what content they download, etc.
Analysing the brand or company: market situation, competitor analysis, online reputation.
Using external tools that provide this data and analyse it.
Tools to create a buyer persona
Observing the behaviour of the user, consumer or potential customer is therefore indispensable, but there are also other tools that help to collect data:
- Alexa: it is useful to know both the situation of your own company and that of your competitors. You can get the online relevance, reputation, etc.. This can help you determine strategies and campaigns, based on what your competitors are doing or create your own rival campaigns.
- Google Ads: This tool is very useful for analysing keywords. You will be able to see associated searches and new ways to reach your buyer persona.
- Google Trends: Google, again, gives us this tool that allows us to carry out trend analysis in a given sector.
- Google Analytics: Finally, in Analytics you can see and analyse visits, origin, search terms, devices used, user time on the page, bounce rate.
It is important that you never stop working on the buyer persona which needs to be regularly updated according to changes in the market, competition or consumer habits. We live in a fast-moving society where new products and needs are constantly emerging, so it is essential to stay up-to-date.
How to update a buyer persona? Simply retrace the steps you took to create it, ask the same questions again and see if the information still makes sense. With this periodic refresh, you will keep your profile up to date.
Once we have defined our ideal customer, we can start to build their customer journey. This helps us get to know them and work better. This process reveals all the stages a person goes through to buy a service or product. Defining and mapping this journey allows you to better understand the needs and the type of information needed at any given time.
In short, after all that has been said, correctly setting up one or more buyer persona profiles will help your brand or company to correctly determine the type of online marketing campaign to undertake, and also what products to propose to each of them. It is a job that must be based on real data and information that must be collected and, over time, updated to continue to be useful. Only in this way will you be able to personalise your 360 Marketing campaigns and provide an excellent and 100% personalised user experience.