How well do you know your customers?

I mean, how well do you really know them?

Do you know their pains, problems aspirations, dreams, responsibilities when it comes to making decisions, and how they define success?

So it always troubles and amazes me when I ask entrepreneurs, “How many of you have developed buyer personas?” and only a few hands go up.

It’s shocking because if you don’t know your customers, how can you effectively market and sell to them?

You need to know what motivates customers, how they make buying decisions and research different products. This lets your marketing and sales resonate. You know what to say and what information to provide during the buyer’s journey.

Every company needs two or three buyer personas.

While your customers may look and feel the same and you may see them as one amorphous group, they have slightly different needs and interests.

A 25-year-old woman, for example, who lives downtown may behave differently than a 35-year-old woman with two children. They have the same needs and interests but their buying behavior could be different and that’s where buyer personas come to play.

I was recently reminded about the value of buyer personas when doing work for a client, who did not have buyer personas. We decided that if their sales and marketing were going to be on the mark,  they needed to know their customers inside and out.

We went through the process of defining three buyer personas.

Now, I should warn you that developing buyer personas is a time-consuming process.

It is important to be methodical and identify the different variables. How old are your customers? What are their responsibilities, obstacles, and goals? How do they make decisions? What role do they play in the buying process; be it an influencer or decision maker?

When the process began, we had a high-level view of the world. But the more time we spent and the more questions we asked, our descriptions became more detailed and more focused.

And that’s one of the keys to successful buyer personas: making sure that you got a very a crystal clear picture of who matters to you.

It took some time to create the buyer personas but then everything started to come to life. We began to get a vivid picture of the people to target. One of the bonuses is that you can start to develop messaging that resonates with your buyer personas.

In our case, we broke down the process into three parts. Number one was the problem faced by our buyer personas in simple and clear terms. The second was the solution: how we could help them? And the third one was what success looks like. At the end of the day, what did they want to achieve?

For one of the buyer personas, the key message was about less risk when it came to their computer systems. For another buyer persona, it was about having computer systems that operate efficiently. We were talking about the same product but different needs and different aspirations.

At the end of the day, we developed was buyer personas and messaging that will make the company’s marketing and sales make an impact.

If you don’t have buyer personas, create at least two to three. If you have buyer personas, circle back to see if they’re still accurate and providing value.


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