5 Reasons Your Buyer Personas Aren’t Working
You spent months building your marketing campaign but when it finally launched, it landed with a thud. The expected leads and conversions never materialised.
What happened? You thought you had covered all the bases and done your research. As you try to determine what went wrong, The problem might be something you hadn’t considered - your buyer personas aren’t good enough.
If your buyer personas aren’t as strong and detailed as they should be, you won’t see the results you expected.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A buyer persona is a semi-fictionalised representation of your ideal customer based on market research, existing customer data and anecdotal observations.
Buyer personas are essentially profiles on the different types of customers you have. These personas help you group all of the people who you want to target into different buckets to better understand factors like who they are and what they’re interested in.
To create a buyer persona, you must analyse your current customer base and identify any common traits and characteristics. The buyer personas you create should be the target customers for your organisation, the ones whose problems you are trying to solve with your service or solution.
In B2B marketing, buyer personas represent the buyers who make purchasing decisions for companies. B2B buyer personas generally include: outline things like:
Job title and level
Role in decision-making process (e.g. influencer vs. decision maker)
Day-to-day responsibilities and pain points
Ideal solutions to be more effective at work
Typical sources for staying informed, including specific publications and/or channels
Demographic information, including educational attainment
Why are Buyer Personas Important in B2B Marketing?
About 77% of the most successful B2B content marketers say they use personas in their marketing campaigns. Having a deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving content creation, product development, sales follow up, and really anything that relates to customer acquisition and retention.
Buyer personas help you understand your customers (and prospective customers) better, enabling you to tailor your content, messaging and product development to their needs, behaviours and concerns of your ideal customers.
Why Your Personas Aren’t Good Enough
Buyer personas are critical to marketing performance. Here are five reasons you may not be getting the right results from your personas:
Not Including Technographic Information Technographics are the essential tools and technologies used to operate the company. While demographics are important,, technographics provides insight into how the company operates, makes purchase decisions and uses technology. With a better understanding of the tools your prospects use, you can target your competitor’s customers or identify important industry trends.
Built with Biases and Assumptions All marketers have their own biases and assumptions about their own products and customers. Your biases can lead you to create personas based on who you think your ideal customer is or should be rather than who is actually buying your product. To ensure your biases are not influencing your personas, you need to think like a customer. Your personas need to be based on real data, behaviours, and demographics learned through customer interviews and research. Every assertion in your persona should be backed up by real evidence. Don’t create your personas in a silo. Because they have more exposure to your customers, you should involve sales, customer support and other customer-facing teams in creating your personas. They are your best resource defining your customers and providing information on the questions and concerns customers have about your products or services. While it’s important to talk to your sales and customer support teams to learn more about your customers and their needs, you should also interview some of your best customers.
Never Updating Your Personas Your buyer personas are not static, they need to reflect any changes any important changes within the industry, your company, your product, technological advances and buying habits. To ensure your personas are still valid, you should review and update them at least once a year or when your business experiences a major change such as launching a new product offering, entering a new market or increasing prices.
Not Having Enough Personas The number of personas you need depends on several factors including the size of your organisation, the number of products and services offered, the maturity of your marketing strategies and the industries you market to. There is no magic number of personas you should have but most experts recommend between three to five personas. In B2B marketing, you most likely need more than one based on the number of decision-makers. Too many personas can make your messaging more complicated than necessary. Too few personas make it harder to hone your messaging. If you find your buyer personas are not effective, you might need to create additional personas. In today’s marketing landscape customers expect marketing to be tailored to their specific wants and needs. Review your personas and the marketing campaigns you used to target them. Are they tailored to meet the specific needs of each person in the audience. If you find any outliers, consider creating a separate persona.
Forgetting to humanise your personas Remember your customers and prospects are real people. A profile of your buyers doesn’t tell you what motivates them, what their goals are. how they make purchase decisions and what drives their work actions. When creating buyer personas, you should determine what motivates each of the buyers to make a purchase. Is it frustration? Is it because they are getting a good deal? What triggers one customer to make a purchase may not be the same as another customer. This information is crucial. Without it, you don’t truly understand your customers. One way to humanise your personas is to use actual quotes and anecdotes from your customer interviews. It brings the persona to life and adds authenticity. B2B customers are often not the only ones making the purchasing decisions. They have to consider what’s best for their company. However, humanising the personas is still important. Adding a personal touch to your marketing will help you stand out.
To maximise your marketing campaign and ensure you are targeting the right audience, you need to get to know your customers beyond their demographics. Buyer personas are essential to your marketing campaigns and provide context for content creations. However, they will only work if they are created correctly and updated as necessary.
Creating accurate personas takes time but it’s worth the effort to ensure your personas are good enough.