Zach Benard
April, 20, 2017

Developing Buyer Personas: Create Your Own Character

What comes to mind when you think of someone who gets their daily morning coffee at Starbucks? What about at Dunkin' Donuts?  Chances are, you start to think of people who fit the bill.  That’s the starting point of developing buyer personas.  And you might already have your target audience, but take it a step further and humanize them.  Give them a name, a profession, an income, and more. In this post, we're going to show you how to create-a-character, (aka your persona).  Before we do that, let's learn more about buyer personas. 

Who are they?

According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.  In the simplest terms, this is the person to whom you are marketing; they are a microcosm of your target audience.  By hashing out the details of his or her life, you’ll know if your strategy is on the right track because it should align with your buyer persona's journey.

Trader Joe’s describes its target customer as an “unemployed college professor who drives a very, very used Volvo.”  Can you picture it?  While a standard buyer persona gives more detail, this is more effective than just “middle-class American suburbanite.”

How can I start developing buyer personas?

By using CRM tools like HubSpot, you’ll be able to develop and put your buyer personas on paper. Make sure to use real data from forms on your site to capture information about your target audience. Company size and job title are two key factors to consider as well.  Additionally, take note of any trends pertaining to your leads and customers.  Are a majority from a certain socioeconomic class? Do most of them have C-level professions?  You’ll also want to monitor your social media channels to see who is engaging with your brand.  From there, you can enter create-a-character mode.

Now, create your character.

One of the most empowering parts of a game is creating your character. You can model them after you, or take on something entirely different. Let's translate this into the business setting. While HubSpot has a template of how to start creating a persona, here’s an example of an abridged buyer persona:

  • Tom the Trade-Show Coordinator is a 39 year-old man who is married with three children.  He and his family live in Worcester, MA, and his current salary is $65,000.  Tom is responsible for planning, attending, and reporting on the marketing impact of the trade shows that he attends.  Because he's constantly on the go, it's difficult for him to efficiently gather and report on the data generated from his team's marketing efforts.  He's not particularly tech-savvy, but he's willing to learn new tools that can benefit him and his team.  This year, he needs to increase trade-show attendance by 15%.  Because of his knowledge-gap with technology, he's overwhelmed with the information he finds on Google about technology.  When he's not researching new tools & methodologies, he spends a lot of time on his Facebook app.  

Of course, not every lead or customer will represent just one buyer persona.  Some companies may even have multiple buyer personas, depending on the variety of their products or services. But ultimately, it will give you a basis for your marketing decisions.  Here's how to get started: 

  1. Choose your hero, write their story, and flesh out their roles, goals, and challenges.
  2. Don't leave out demographics.  What's their age, what's their income, and where do they live?
  3. Now it's time to channel your inner storyteller.
    1. What's their background?
    2. What's their personality like?  
    3. How do they like to communicate? (Email, phone, text, etc.)
    4. Do they have any hobbies?
  4. What are their biggest challenges at work?  And what's preventing them from overcoming those challenges?
  5. Lastly, what solutions can you offer to your buyer persona?

Developing buyer personas is not a difficult task - it just takes data and time.  Are you looking for new ways to generate leads?  Download our free guide to The 30 Greatest B2B Lead Generation Tips, Tricks, and Ideas.  

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