Marketers obsess about target audiences. They really should focus on becoming intimately familiar with their buyer personas.
A buyer persona is human-scale profile of who buys your product or service, how they buy it and why they buy it.
Shaping marketing appeals to a buyer persona requires a sharp pencil, not a kid's crayon. It's the difference between thinking how to persuade Joe, a recent college graduate who lives with roommates, drives a clunker and is looking for Ms. Right, to buy your new beer, as opposed to thinking in terms of appealing to 21 to 25 year olds who have attended college.
If your marketing compass is a personality instead of a statistic, you have a better chance of making a connection. You can expand the kind of research you conduct from quantitative research of 21- to 25-year-olds to observation of real-life Joes in search of the perfect beer.
The buyer journey is easier to discover and understand when you trace the footfalls of actual people. You begin to see predictive factors to behavior that are clues to where to place your marketing messages and how to design your website. You learn when and how to engage your customer.
There are techniques to find influential people in a database or a research sample. Converting these influential people to buyer personas can be the key to knowing how to leverage their early embrace of new products into effective word of mouth campaigns.
Becoming intimately familiar with your buyer persona allows you to dig deeper into who they are, what motivates them and how they can be reached. When they become like a fast friend, you have established the foundation of a solid customer relationship.