Constructing buyer personas is a great way to close the gap between market research and marketing.
Buyer personas built from solid market research help marketers understand their target audience, how and where to connect with them and the journey they take to become buyers. Buyer personas also make buyers more human and less like ciphers, a quality that goes a long way in the marketplace of the 21st century.
The path to red-blooded buyer personas is to talk formally or informally with every kind of buyer imaginable: current buyers, previous buyers, buyers who stopped buying and super buyers who influence other buyers. Their comments about your product, service, quality and customer experience can paint a telling picture and a real-life video of the buyer journey.
For the picture to be more than a sketch, the market research needs to dig deeper than superficial observations about product characteristics and customer behavior. Market research must probe the “why" behind what customers do at different stages of the buyer journey so buyer personas reflect motivation, sources of influence and trigger points.
Once constructed, buyer personas represent an invaluable tool to segment customers for customized marketing outreach, product offerings, targeted discounts and purchasing options.
Well developed buyer personas don’t belong on the shelf or buried in a desk drawer. They should be the equivalent of having an actual customer sitting on the corner of a marketer's desk whispering into his or her ear.
Few may dispute the value of buyer personas, but many marketers overlook or ignore them in doing their jobs. Buyer personas can get in the way of a great marketing idea or message.
One solution to the disconnect between market research and marketing departments is to work together in fashioning buyer personas. The portraits from collaborative thinking are likely to be even more three dimensional than from isolated or strictly statistical market research. The conversations with present, past and potential buyers can explore marketing concepts to test their viability and bake in the findings to buyer persona portraits.
Perhaps the greatest contribution for marketers from buyer personas is a human-scale map of where to track down their ideal customers. Great content, useful information and fantastic offers can fall flat if they don’t reach their intended audience. Understanding your own buyer personas can help chart the map to find and connect with your customers.