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Why Understanding Your Buyer Persona Is Essential for Successful Marketing

min read
Why Understanding Your Buyer Persona Is Essential for Successful Marketing

Don’t get us wrong, generic marketing strategies can be effective. You need only look at the origins of Ford Motor Company to realize that. But unless you commit to being the no-frills, low-cost leader (as Henry Ford was in the early 1900s) or offering unique products to a niche market (like Lefty’s, the store for left-handed people), chances are a generic marketing approach won’t help you grow your business, or your customer base, as much as you’d like.

Not to worry, because new technologies are making it easier for marketers and sales teams to understand specific buyer personas — aka customer personas or marketing personas. Targeted marketing to a buyer persona is the opposite of generic marketing to the masses, and it’s essential to marketing success in a world where hyper-personalization is becoming a customer expectation.

What Is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona is a profile based on extensive audience and market research that describes your ideal customer. Buyer personas are generally grouped into four basic categories:

  • The spontaneous buyer
  • The methodical buyer
  • The humanistic buyer
  • The competitive buyer

More detailed personas include specific characteristics and, though they are fictional, are based on real-world data such as age and other attributes like gender, income, or job title. 

Buyer persona examples are many, but perhaps the best-known persona — famous in the world of politics but also widely used in retail — is the Soccer Mom (i.e., middle-class, suburban mother of two or more children who drives a minivan.)

The Necessity of Buyer Personas in Marketing

Buyer personas are critical tools for developing high-impact marketing campaigns. They allow sales teams to fully understand target audiences, and they enable the creation of powerful marketing messages, finely targeted ads, and marketing content that’s likely to resonate with potential buyers. 

It’s important to note that you may have more than one buyer persona to target, especially if you segment your audience for hyper-focused marketing. Accurate, granular buyer personas can help you optimize your marketing and remarketing efforts.

Buyer personas can be incredibly detailed and as complex as you want them to be. How far you grow to shape a fictional profile of your target buyer depends on what works best for your marketing strategy. It’s worthwhile taking the time to craft and apply detailed personas, as the marketing outcomes typically include greater audience engagement and higher conversion rates. You can confirm the effectiveness of the buyer personas by measuring the success of campaigns

Tip: You may find it helpful to develop a buyer persona template as you build out your buyer persona. You can find examples of buyer persona templates that you can download for free on several sites including Venngage, Hubspot, Semrush, Xtensio and Visme.

Components of a Buyer Persona

As we’ve outlined, a customer persona can simply be based on demographics. But the best buyer persona examples incorporate several components to create a comprehensive representation of the target audience. Those components usually include:

Demographic Information

This is the most basic, factual data used in a buyer persona and is typically the easiest information to gather. Demographic details include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Income

Psychographic Information

Psychographic data drills deeper into what makes your buyer tick and includes their opinions and values. This information can be revealed in responses to surveys and questionnaires that ask about clubs and societies and political affiliations, as well as:  

  • Interests and hobbies
  • Values and beliefs
  • Personality traits
  • Lifestyle choices
  • Attitudes and opinions

Goals and Challenges

Consumer surveys can unearth valuable data about the obstacles your target audience faces. This data offers insight as to whether your product or service relieves a pain point for the consumer. 

Questions to ask when conducting buyer persona research include:

  • What are the primary goals and objectives of our target audience(s)?
  • What challenges or pain points do they face?
  • What motivates them to seek solutions?
  • What obstacles hinder their progress in the customer journey?

Buying Behavior

Delving into your target market’s buying behavior helps you to refine buyer personas. And it can inform your strategy for how, where, and when it is best to reach out to potential customers. 

To understand buying behavior, you should seek details about a consumer’s: 

  • Preferred communication channels
  • Information sources
  • Buying preferences
  • Decision-making factors
  • Buying frequency and patterns

Decision-Making Influences

Lastly, it’s important to understand how your buyer makes purchasing decisions. For example, if the buyer persona is aged under 18 and they are learning to drive, their parents may influence their purchase of car insurance. In this case, you’ll probably want to segment your audience to include parents of new drivers. 

Here are some examples of questions you should seek to answer to understand buyers’ motivations:  

  • Who influences their purchasing decisions?
  • What factors sway their decision-making process?
  • Are there any external influences that affect their choices?

How to Use Buyer Personas in Marketing Strategies

Once you have developed your buyer persona or personas, you can incorporate them into your marketing strategies. Here are five ways to do that effectively: 

Content Creation

Your content strategy should firmly focus on appealing to your buyer personas. Develop blog posts, articles, videos, and social media content that are likely to align with the persona’s interests, preferences, and challenges. 

For example, say that a key buyer persona for your realtor business is a young first-time homebuyer who earns a solid income but is struggling to organize a 20% down payment. You may want to provide them with articles and social media content on financing alternatives or low down payment options via the Fair Housing Act, U.S. Department of Agriculture home loans, and first-time buyer programs available in their local market.

Advertising and Targeting

Meet your buyer personas where they hang out online using demographic and interest-based targeting options on various advertising platforms. This can help you to reach the right audience with your ad messaging. For instance, if your buyer persona is an avid Facebook user who posts and comments on others’ posts regularly, it would be wise to utilize Facebook ads to catch their eye. 

Product Development

If your company builds it, then your target customers will buy it. Or at least, that’s your plan. But to make that happen, you need to understand what product features and benefits are most important to each buyer persona in your marketing strategy. Then, you can align your offerings accordingly, including developing new products and enhancements. 

Customer Journey Mapping

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of respondents to Invoca’s Buyer Experience Benchmark Report believe businesses already know why they are calling when they contact customer service, so it’s important you prove them right! 

Thanks to technology, you can now more easily map how customers move through the sales funnel, even in the call center. This insight allows you to customize the buyer’s experience at each stage of their journey by providing relevant information and support. 

Invoca’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered conversation intelligence platform connects online and offline journeys to provide customers with a seamless experience.

Personalization

AI is also raising the bar for marketers’ ability to personalize, at scale, outreach to buyer personas. For example, Invoca’s conversation intelligence tracks, analyzes, and groups what callers say on the phone, allowing marketers to develop and deliver personalized ads that address callers’ specific needs and interests. 

Also, Invoca’s intelligent call routing personalizes the buyer journey by tracking who is calling, and which website pages the interacted with before they placed their call, so they can be transferred to the appropriate agent at the first attempt. So, instead of sending a high-intent person to customer service, they go straight to a sales agent. Fewer phone conversations and faster resolutions equals happier customers.

5 Benefits of Understanding Your Buyer Persona

Connecting with your target audience more effectively by using buyer personas has important benefits for any business. They include:

1. Enhanced Targeting and Segmentation

Understanding the customer persona delivers valuable insights into the characteristics, preferences, and behaviors of your target audience so you can segment that audience more accurately and better focus your marketing efforts. 

Invoca helps improve your targeting efforts by providing critical insight into what callers say over the phone in real time. This enables teams to retarget high-intent consumers with more specific ads and messaging to move them closer to a conversion.  

2. Increased Customer Retention

Marketing pros know it is exponentially more expensive to bring in a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. By taking the time to understand each buyer persona, consistently meeting their expectations, offering solutions to their challenges, and smoothing the customer journey, marketing can foster loyalty, encourage repeat business, and save valuable marketing budget.

3. Enhanced Customer Experience

By understanding people’s communication styles, preferred channels, and buying habits, and eliminating friction across the entire buying journey, your marketing team can deliver a seamless and personalized experience throughout each buyer persona’s journey with your brand.

4. Improved Product Development

Aligning your products or services with your buyer persona’s preferences creates the opportunity to deliver customized offerings tailored to a person’s specific requirements, which they’ve already indicated will compel them to buy. The product can effectively sell itself, and there’s nothing better than marketing to a buyer who is itching to buy. 

5. Competitive Advantage

Lastly, by tailoring marketing strategies, messaging, and customer experiences to meet the unique needs of people in your target market, you’ll be setting your brand apart from most, if not all, of your competitors. 

Differentiation is an important competitive advantage for any brand. What’s more, it allows you to optimize ad campaigns, spend less to get more, and boost ROI.  

How Invoca Enhances Your Buyer Persona Research

You can use AI-powered tools like Invoca’s conversation intelligence platform to get insights into buyer personas at scale, straight from the voice of actual customers

Phone conversations are still the preferred communication channel for most consumers, even though innovative companies like the Faulkner Organization use AI to deliver virtual personas, like “Megan,” the online assistant, to enhance the customer experience. In fact, a 2020 survey we conducted found that almost nine in 10 people felt that having a person on the phone who can answer their questions made them more confident when considering high-stakes purchases

Invoca Signal AI helps marketers train algorithms to detect game-changing insights in phone conversations like competitor mentions or product and service interests. This immediately informs your marketing strategy so you can shift ad spend, retarget callers with personalized ads, and even prompt sales agents to mention special promos tailored to that person’s intent. 

Invoca Topic Explorer adds another layer to the buyer persona by analyzing calls at scale and highlighting trends and insights that marketing can act on in real time. One customer used this powerful tool to drive more high-intent callers to relevant sales agents and reduce customer acquisition costs. Another customer used it to expose a problem with their phone system’s interactive voice response (IVR) technology. The issue was quickly fixed, so callers spent less time making appointments and enjoyed a better customer experience.

Visualize what’s being said across thousands of calls at once with Topic Explorer

Additional Reading

Want to learn more about how Invoca can help you create better buyer personas? Check out these resources:

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Webinar: Going beyond lead generation
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Level up your marketing game with industry experts' advice on building a revenue-focused strategy.
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