Saturday, April 03, 2010

The Biz School Chronicles :: What the bleep is a buyer persona?

"A buyer persona is a detailed profile of an example buyer that represents the real audience – an archetype of the target buyer. Marketers can use buyer personas to clarify the goals, concerns, preferences and decision process that are most relevant to their customers. Imagine how effective marketers could be if we would all stop making stuff up and start aligning our messages and programs with the way real people think."
I just came across a nice blog dedicated to the study of "Buyer Personas". The above explanation is from there. The author also posts some practical examples ...
"Design engineers frequently build user personas as a part of their product development process. The application of personas for marketing is less common, but hardly without precedent. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush successfully campaigned to the soccer mom persona during the 1992, 1996 and 2000 elections. By 2004, the soccer mom had morphed into a security mom persona as school violence and terrorism became big issues. The Presidents' campaign staffs used dozens of personas like these to focus their messages and win more votes."
So where do we need buyer personas? I feel that it is ideal to develop your buyer personas immediately after Segmentation of your potential market. Now that you have an idea about your market segments, and the next logical steps in the process are targeting and positioning, developing buyer personas for the target segments would help a lot moving forward.

Case studies, brochures or any marketing collateral for that matter will benefit immensely if you have a buyer persona in mind when you develop it. This makes targeting more accurate and the whole positioning exercise a productive one. Otherwise a marketer falls into the abyss of messaging to no one in particular, which is a costly mistake. The blog I mentioned above takes Sugar CRM website as an example of doing things the right way ...
"I recently visited the Sugar CRM website and saw a series of demos for their Customer Relationship Management product, one for each of the five personas who influences the decision to buy. Navigation to these role-based demos is labeled for each buyer's functional role -- sales, marketing, support, executive and admin -- a great example of the application of persona-based messaging. This website offers visitors a chance to hear how this single solution addresses the needs of whichever buyer persona lands there, and as a bonus, SugarCRM can readily measure which of their target influencers is spending the time to listen to their message."

So that's what the bleep a buyer persona is :)