Who is the buyer persona and how do we create it?

A “buyer persona”is a fictional character that is created based on our target customer group. Market research and information gathering are essential to creating a persona, which can help us build a credible picture of our ideal customers. A well-developed buyer persona helps companies to create a more effective marketing strategy and to address their customers in a personalised way.

A buyer persona, also known as a customer persona, is a fictional person who is inspired and brought to life by our target customer.

Market research and information gathering are essential to make it a reality, but in return we will get a well-functioning model that is a credible representation of our customers and easy to work with. In fact, the buyer persona is the ideal customer for a company, and the more detailed and thorough you get to know them, the more viable they will be. In such a persona, the common characteristics of optimal customers and buyers are summarised, serving as quasi-sample customers for the subsequent creation of marketing strategies.

Why create customer personas?

  1. Because we can be more specific: if we target a group based on demographic data alone, we lose the very essence: the personality. Our message will be more general, we will not be able to reflect on the problems that are specific to a persona.
  2. It delimits content types and channels: if we know where and what you read or watch, and for how long, it becomes clear where and what you read or watch in terms of your content. The golden rule is to talk about their problems, in their language, through the channels they follow.

What do we need to know about the buyer persona?

In short: everything you can. In other words, the more we know about them, the more accurate our picture of them and the more personal our relationship with them will be. To use a common example, the better you know someone, the easier it is to choose the perfect gift for them. It’s the same in sales, the clearer your picture of the buyer persona, the easier it is to find your way to them.

The “profiling”

In order to make these buyer personas “real”, i.e. operational, it is essential to collect as much information about them as possible and to prioritise this information appropriately. For example, location is less relevant for a website development company than for a café, but gender is essential for a cosmetics webshop.

Analysing the market and customer objectives, including demographic and psychographic data is essential to develop the right persona.

  1. Let’s get to know your target audience! Some research will be necessary to understand who our target group is and to use real data. The best way to do this is to look at our current customers: who are the people who regularly buy from us or are interested in our content? Do they have anything in common at first glance? If so, our buyer persona is already alive and well and we have the first feature.
  2. Let’s be proactive! If we don’t have enough information about our customer base, let’s get it! An emailed questionnaire can be the perfect tool, but it’s also worth looking at your social media followers: there’s a lot of valuable demographic data to be found there. It’s important to remember that when building a persona, you should also take into account your previous bad customer experiences, so that you can avoid these personality traits becoming part of your ideal customer persona.
  3. Prioritise, categorise! Once you have gathered the necessary amount of information, it is reasonable to filter it and look for the most common points, the most common similarities, which are the ones you should focus on in building your persona. This is also the point where we can identify the channels through which we can communicate most effectively, and the issues that the message needs to address.
  4. Identify the most important aspects: demographic and geographic data (gender, age, place of residence, education, marital status, workplace, etc.), psychographic data (consumer habits, price sensitivity, interests, hobbies, values, problems and fears, etc.), behavioural data (media consumption habits, shopping frequency, awareness, etc.)
  5. Create multiple personas! Our customer base is unlikely to be covered by a single persona, so to ensure diverse and successful marketing, we need to define and separate the different personas. For example, if we are selling cakes, there will be dessert lovers who will choose from a limited palette because of a food allergy and there are likely to be vegans who do the same – and while these two personas may be very similar, it is advisable to think of them as separate personalities. In the same way, a company selling sports equipment should consider amateur and professional athletes as separate persons, since they are essentially buying for different purposes.
  6. Produce content for them! Once the personas have been created and you have given them a name and a “face”, you can start communicating with them. We already have a lot of knowledge about them, so it won’t be that difficult to offer them something personal and unique!

In the long term, continuous and valuable communication also requires that these persons are not seen as a rounded whole, ready-made and untouchable. On the contrary: just as human personalities change, customer personalities are dynamic and may at any time reveal information that we did not know about them before. So feel free to consider each of your personas as “open files” and add all the new data to their profiles, so they will be truly timeless and useful.