What is Customer Personas?

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What are personas? To run effective marketing, you need to know who you are communicating with and you should know them very well.

Companies like Apple, HP, FedEx, GE, IBM use personas as well as more and more SMB’s. Investigations from the BuyerPersona Institute show that 44% of US companies use personas and 29% have plans to start with this.

Look at personas as composite depth profiles of semi-fictional people, where each persona portrays one of your company’s typical customers. Personas exist to make the marketing job easier, because it gives both the marketing and sales department access to information about the user pattern for both leads and customers. This makes your marketing much more effective than when basing strategies on guesswork and assumptions.

Why are personas important?

It is 48% more likely that the buyer chooses your product if the marketing is directly aimed at them, their needs and the channels they use, according to the ITSMA survey.

There is also a much smaller chance that you will get negative feedback on content and ads when the content is actually something the user looks for and wants, which in turn lowers the ad spending and marketing workload in the long run. In short, Personas makes marketing more efficient and makes it easier to define customer needs.

How many personas do we need?

Most companies have many types of customers. But even if you have many kinds of customers who look very different, defining 3-4 personas will normally cover about 90% of the customer base, according to Mark W. Schaefer. The important thing is that the personas are based on in-depth interviews with customers and not based on assumptions.

Also read: What is inbound marketing?

What is the difference between target groups and personas?

The use of personas turns the mindset from “We want everyone to use our product.” To “What potential customers are looking for and need our product?”

One of the basic principles of Inbound Marketing is to build and market towards personas rather than audiences. Target audiences are no longer as relevant to digital marketing because they are too inaccurate.

The main difference between the two terms is that where an audience will give you information about which group you are assuming to buy your products at the demographic level, personas will tell you exactly who in that group that are interested in your products and how, when and where to talk them.

Personas are making it possible is to target all your marketing to specific customer types – these should be based on your actual customers as much as possible, but to some extent also fictitious, depending on how much information it is possible for you to actually get from your customers and what you can do about qualified guesswork.

How will the personas help my business?

Solving the customer’s problem with the company’s product should always be the focus, and personas make this focus easier to follow up, because suddenly you will know how potential leads are looking for solutions to their problem, rather than assuming they are thinking the same way as you do.

Personas should be built on who the buyer is

Many companies that start to create personas rely too much on job titles and role in the company. Instead, they should rather think about how they make a purchase decision, what it takes to get them to the next step in their purchase journey and how to reach them. If you understand how a potential customer is thinking, you can also plan your marketing so that they will choose your product over competing products on the market.

Where target groups focus on age, place of residence and role, personas focus on behaviour, insight, and research on how actual customers think.

Should All Businesses Have Personas?

Yes, personas are useful no matter what your business is selling. The impact of your marketing will increase significantly if you spend time building meaningful personas, based on  user behaviour research on web sites and buyer’s mind set, whether you’re running a B2B or B2C business.

How to proceed to find your personas?

Before you start finding personas, you should have a list of questions you want answers to. The questions can range from marital status and age, to the concerns or problems the person will face in their working day. It is also helpful to get input from other employees in the company and together find questions that are important to you. When this list is in place you will then have a few in-depth interviews with existing customers. After some interviews you will see some clear common denominators in the answers, which in turn will help to form their personas.

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