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One of the key elements in developing a marketing plan is identifying the people your business serves and using that to craft your content and marketing plan. Previously, we identified the problems that you solve and we looked at the different ways to identify the problem, or pain points, of your customers. What motivates them to buy your product or service.

Taking Example from Fiction

In the next step, we are going to identify your ideal customer or client, often this is described as a “buyer persona.”

When you write a novel, you develop characters and great characters are fully fleshed out, at least in the author’s mind even if all those details don’t immediately present themselves on the page. Good characters have a backstory, the author knows where they grew up, the composition of their family, their likes and dislikes, their career history, and how they interact with their friends. When an author has a fully fleshed out character, how they react to a particular situation has a ring of authenticity. When we read The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, we can anticipate how characters will react in a situation because he has painted such a clear picture of who they are. His world building was far more extensive than the novels themselves.

Buyer Persona Goals

You don’t have to go to Tolkien lengths in developing your buyer personas, but you do want to go into enough detail that those personas can serve as a guideline for creating your content and marketing strategies. The goal of the buyer persona is to help you create effective communication to that ideal buyer. Whatever you write or create should be developed with one of those personas in mind. For every product or service line that your business has, you have one or more types of buyers. There may be overlap between those types, but often the buyer groups can be extremely different.

Buyer Persona Templates

Creating a buyer persona template can help you work through and define the characteristics of each type of buyer.

 

Title the persona, begin to describe that person. Who are they? What is their background? In what demographic group do they fall? What are their core values and how do they think about things? What are their interests and affiliations, for example, are they a member of any professional organizations or do they come to you from a specific community or group? How do they like to communicate? Millennials and younger will prefer texts while Boomers will prefer a phone call, or better yet, a face-to-face contact.[1]

Next, consider what that buyer is looking for and what they will take into consideration when they make their buying decision. What challenges are they facing that is prompting them to buy? What obstacle might prohibit them from doing so? What are their main concerns and objections? What are their needs, and finally, what is their primary goal for this buying decision?

Once you’ve worked through these questions, identify the primary product or service you offer that they would be interested in. After you’ve “gotten into the head” of this buyer persona, you will probably also have a pretty good idea of what their primary motivation is in their purchasing decision.

Finally, articulate why this particular type of buyer will buy from you over a competitor.

Buyer Persona Matrix

Now that you have your clearly defined buyer personas, it’s time to distill that information down into a buyer persona matrix as an easily accessed reference. This will be used as you develop your marketing campaigns and individual promotional pieces.

Create a chart with the name of each of your buyer personas along the top. In each line, list the core characteristics to keep in mind.

If you are a B2B company, the items on the characteristics axis might include the position of the person, their background, their needs, goals, and main challenges. A business to consumer company might include gender, age, the product line, the social media network that persona prefers, “hot buttons,” and relevant hashtags.

There is no hard and fast rule on how a buyer persona matrix must be. It is a tool to keep your messaging on point.

 


Notes

[1] “The Evolution of Communication from Boomers to Gen Z | NDMU Online,” Notre Dame of Maryland University, last modified February 6, 2019, accessed February 10, 2019, https://online.ndm.edu/news/communication/evolution-of-communication/.

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