Buyer persona, the compass that sets the course of brands

Monday, 22 october 2018 | Brenda Rodríguez López

Customers shape the spirit of brands. Without a target audience which is narrowed down, they will advance like a ship without fixed course. They will hardly succeed. In the design of any strategic plan, either as part of a campaign or at the birth of the firm, brands need to define who their ideal clients are. The creation of the figure of the buyer persona is a useful and ingrained technique which helps to complete the segmentation of a target. How can this character be built? Why is it so important in the design of brands' strategies?

 

When shipwrecked survivors throw a bottle into the sea, they are exposed to many possible scenarios such as someone getting the message or the bottle being lost in the infinite blue. As well as that, will the person who finds the container be a good person? Or will he or she rather act motivated by interest? Will they just consider the flask a joke, trust the message, understand the language or make some time to look for an interpreter? The protagonists of this kind of unfortunate adventures, who normally only count on a small piece of paper and a single glass bottle, will be forced to design in detail the best strategy to reach their ideal recipients. They have a lot of time and little hope. However, when they put more effort into the task, the “impossible mission” is more likely to end up successfully.

The likelihood of brands being successful when they do not want to close doors or rely excessively on the good acceptance of their products or services without reflecting is little. Just like the likelihood that shipwrecked survivors have if they do not include notions in their notes about where is the island in which they survive lonely. Lack of experience and overconfidence lead to wrongly thinking that when the message is received by more people, it is more effective. However, this is one of the most frequent mistakes in the design of a brand strategy.

Less is more: segmenting to reach

Brands that do not devote the necessary attention to the definition of their clients' profile are boycotting their chances of succeeding. The premise of "more is more" does not always work, but rather the one that says "don’t bite off more than you can chew". For the message to be effective, brands must know who the ideal recipient of their messages is. Then, it will be necessary to make a good segmentation of their target audience, that is, delimiting where the potential customers who are most interested in their services or products are located; the less defined the target is, the harder it will be to win it over.

Audiences are segmented according to a wide number of criteria: demographic, social, geographic, socioeconomic, idiomatic, lifestyle, consumer habits, whether it is business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumers (B2C), ... Thanks to this work of analysis, brands are able to enhance their market opportunities, better understand what the recipients of their messages need and focus the effort on a single group. Of course, when a firm has a high budget, it can define several targets, but  that does not guarantee better results. Segmentation must respond to a clear strategic plan coherently and logically.

One of the most useful tools when defining the ideal consumer is resorting to the creation of a buyer persona. It is about building a semi-fictional and detailed profile of the ideal consumer of a brand. This representation of a final client will help firms to come much closer to the needs and priorities of their target audiences. The humanization of this character helps to look at brands from a different angle and also serves as a compass to set the course to which they should take if they do not want to fail.

 

Buyer persona, the compass that sets the course of brands

Creating a buyer persona

Defining the ideal consumer stereotype requires thorough prior investigation. Although the construction of a buyer persona has an ingredient of fiction, it has to be based on real data. The goal of the brand will be knowing as accurately as possible who are the customers who are interested or could be interested in it. To obtain this information, they can choose different formulas: market studies, lead analysis, identification of current clients, use of networking links, focus groups, interviews, etc.

Thanks to this effort to get detailed information about potential customers, brands will be able to build an ideal consumer profile (buyer persona) that makes sense and comes close enough to reality. Although this archetype of the model user, which is created from this exhaustive research, will be hypothetical, it should include very detailed data such as his/her name, age, place of residence, income level, marital status, personality traits, habits, desires, hobbies, behavior in social networks, lifestyle details,... On the Internet, many templates can be found as well as examples on which marketing professionals can start working. From this data sheet, it will be possible to create a narrative that delves into the personality, concerns and main motivations of this character.

With this painstaking and exhaustive outline of the model client, brands will have the opportunity to know the objections that this type of potential consumers may have about their services or products, better understand their emotions about the brand and find out what motivates them. In other words, they will be able to put themselves in the shoes of their clients. This analysis will also enable the elaboration of an elevator pitch, that is, a small speech which is as brief as an elevator trip and that persuades the buyer that the solution which is offered by the brand is the one that best meets their needs and, in short, the best for them.

At The CEU IAM Business School we teach an Executive Master's Degree in Digital Marketing which is aimed at professionals who desire to specialize in the online marketing and communication of products and services and who want to go deep into digital strategies such as SEM, SEO, Inbound Marketing, Affiliation or social networks. This training is based on a blended-learning methodology that enables students to combine their studies with their daily work.