Why You Can't Win in Marketing Without Personas

Think Shift

Think you know your customers?

Think again.

Knowing a customer's name, age, job title and other basics help us make assumptions about who they are, but it doesn't paint a clear picture. And if that picture is fuzzy — if we're unclear on their wants, needs and pain points — our digital marketing efforts can never be as strong as they could be.

That’s where buyer personas can swoop in and save the day.

A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on market research, real data and a few informed assumptions.

Buyer personas help you make more informed decisions across the board, whether you’re addressing customer pain points, driving content or making your organization more customer-centric.

In this video, Eric Postma, Think Shift’s Digital and Inbound Marketing Lead, walks you through the many benefits of buyer personas and the profound effect they can have on your organization’s digital marketing strategy.

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Do you know who your customers are?

Think about that for a moment. Do you really know them? Sure, you might know their age and maybe where they live, but that's not a true picture of who a person is. Some organizations with more advanced market research in analytics might know how much their customers earn, what kind of education they have, or some information about their family. But still, that's not a true picture of who your customers are. Your customer drives your businesses success, and understanding your customer is critical. Most organizations bet huge marketing and sales budgets on assumptions about who their customers are and what information those customers want, who are then surprised when the campaign falls flat.

So how can your organization begin to understand who your customers are?

An important step is to research and create buyer personas. Buyer personas are a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research, real data, and a few informed assumptions. These personas include customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, challenges and goals. The buyer persona is a much more complete view of who your customer is. Buyer personas help us understand and internalize the customer that we're trying to attract. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales, and anything else that relates to customer acquisition and retention.

You might be saying, "Sure, that sounds nice, but will a buyer persona actually change how my business operates?" My answer, "Yeah, absolutely." Here's how:

First, buyer personas will direct your segmentation and targeting. With buyer personas, you'll have a better idea of where your customers are looking for information, whether that be a website, social network or a publication. This information will allow you to make much more informed decisions with your advertising budget.

Second, buyer personas inform your sales efforts. With buyer personas, you will know who you were talking to and what they need to hear. Your sales team will be able to address their challenges and pain points before your customers can even express them.

Third, buyer personas drive your content. The questions that inevitably come up when you were planning to produce your content for your website or publication are easily answered when you have a clear buyer persona in mind.

Fourth, buyer personas help your organization be much more customer-centric. Everyone can rally behind a clear picture of who your customers are. With the customer clearly in the minds of your entire organization, you will all have a clear goal, shared purpose, and common language.

Finally, with buyer personas you can expect better performance from your marketing and sales. This is because your customers want to have information that is tailored to their specific needs. Your organization will be in a place to uniquely solve your customers' challenges and address their specific opportunities.

Buyer personas are vital to driving success across the organization. They direct your marketing, inform your sales, drive your content, create a shared customer first purpose, and improve performance. So what are you waiting for?

Let's get to work defining your buyer personas.


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