One of the first tasks every company - working in a digital or traditional brick-and-mortar market - has to face is the definition of the target customer. Who are you talking to? Who should buy your product or service? It's not always easy as it may seem, especially in a global world where customers have evolved to be more and more connected, thanks to smartphones and tablets, and informed.
In spite of this evolution the main task for marketing professionals remains the same: to define the buyer personas and design for them a proper storytelling, map their digital customer journey, shape the appropriate content marketing strategy.
Before even thinking about 'what we say', we need to be aware of 'who we're talking to'. Here comes the core question: what is a buyer persona? Is it the a specific customer stereotype or a more complex subject? How can you use it to leverage your digital customer experience?
A brief definition: buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on market research and specific insights gathered from the actual customer base (i.e. through interviews and surveys). What is the purpose of researching and creating such a fictional character? Buyer personas help you understand your actual and prospective customers better. More, they help your create a tailored content based on the specific needs, behaviors, and concerns of different groups.
When you sell your product or your brand you never talk (or should talk) to everyone, because talking to everyone in marketing is often equal to talking to nobody. This is even more important in a digital context: your digital customer needs be an active participant in the experience you're selling - and that you should be able to map as digital customer journey - to be sure you're able to attract the most valuable visitors and leads to your business.
If you want to send a lead nurturing email, would you prefer to send it to every contact in your database or just to the segment you know is ready to listen and act?
A buyer persona provides an insight to determine where to focus your time and align the whole organization. You can define it in a positive or negative way. Negative Buyer Personas are also important (even though their definition requires even more research and study), because they give you the benefit of being able to segment out the bad apples and achieve a lower cost-per-customer.
That's why a well detailed persona - positive and negative - should always include customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.
So how do you create your buyer personas?
- Start defining your target customer, prospects and potential audience.
- Interview your customers both online and face-to-face.
- Study how different customers interact with your product and brand.
- Use forms on your website to collect important personal data, incrementally.
- Consider sales team's feedback on your actual and potential leads.
- Analyze all data collected, shape your buyer personas in a continous cycle.
The definition of your buyer persona is not just another task. It is, in fact, so crucial that we have included it at the very the beginning of our 7 Steps Checklist you can follow to create an effective digital customer experience.