TIPS & TRICKS

How to Create Tremendous Target Markets & Buyer Personas

or… why yelling about peanut butter is a bad idea.

Joshua Cook, Chief Branding Navigator
28 February 2017

If you pay attention to one thing from this website, let it be THIS.

If you don’t use target markets and buyer personas effectively, you will fail in marketing your product. Plain and simple. Without an understanding of who your customers are, or what you customers are looking for, you will waste valuable dollars in marketing and advertising because you are not reaching the right people.

Imagine you are standing on the side of a busy street on a nice summer evening, with people busily passing by you on their way to whatever great place they’re going.

Your job: to sell a jar of peanut butter.

As the crowd rushes by you, you yell for people’s attention, using grandiose claims like, “I have the most delicious food ever!” to capture their attention.

People stop and look for a moment, but those who do leave before buying. And then, eventually, you make the sale!

And you’re exhausted.

If you are a peanut butter lover, great! I am, and your peanut button sounds amazing. But what about all the people who don’t care for peanut butter, or who are allergic to peanut butter, or who are in the market for a new Audi S5 convertible and don’t give a f*** about peanut butter? Those people aren’t interested in what you have to say (or yell), but you are yelling at them anyway. And now you’re tired.

Okay – you probably aren’t selling peanut butter. What are you selling? More importantly, who wants it? A common trap for many casual marketers is to assume that everyone is interested in your product.

Let’s look at a more practical example:

One pizzeria sells cheap slices and has an $8 walk-in special for a large pepperoni pizza; the other has flown in a special oven from Italy that cooks specialty pies with premium ingredients, such as house-made Italian sausage. Oh, and the second pizzeria doesn’t have specials – the price is the price.

Do you think both pizzerias are targeting the same people? Probably not.

The first pizzeria is targeting the budget-seeking customer, while the second is targeting a customer with refined pallet and appreciation for authenticity. Sure, there may be some overlap, but the two customers are rather different.

So if the two restaurants aren’t targeting everyone, it is logical that they would want to tailor their marketing efforts to their desired audience. These groups are referred to as “Buyer Personas.”

 

Creating the Perfect Buyer Personas

In a nutshell, a buyer persona is:

a profile (or profiles) of the ideal customer, used to ensure that every piece of content you create, from your advertising to website, is catered to the right audience.

Start with research, asking your existing customers questions to better understand who they are and why they come to you. Then expand your search with the ultimate secret weapon: Google. A simple web search allows you to research websites of your competition to determine who they are talking to, or read forums within your industry where customers are talking about their needs, challenges, and pains.

The perfect persona takes time to craft, and should be a representation of both your current clientele and your ideal customer. Who are they? What makes them unique? And the more detail you can include, the better. Ask questions like:

  • What is their background?
    What is there education? Are they in a relationship? Do they have a family? What is their job?
  • What are their demographics?
    Is the typical customer male or female? How old are they? What is their income level? Where do they live?
  • What makes them unique?
    Are they high-strung? Vocal? Opinionated? Ethical? Environmentally conscious? Elitest? Snobby? Religious? Dog-lovers? Cat-Lovers? Related to your brand or not, what makes them unique?
  • What are their needs, challenges, and goals?
    Knowing what makes them tick will let you position your `product.

Hubspot offers an excellent example of a B2B buyer persona, and outlines an often overlooked buyer persona: the negative buyer persona. As you’d probably expect, the negative persona is a description of attributes of customers you don’t want to target. For example, an attribute of the Creative Compass buyer personas is “passionate entrepreneurs who want help understanding core marketing concepts” – a negative persona attribute could be “senior level marketing executives,” because they have likely been using these concepts throughout their lengthy career.

Worried that you are leaving out a large group of potential customers? Create more than one persona! Multiple personas allow you to target different marketing and advertising campaigns and achieve better results than campaigns that try to be everything to everyone. Clear and concise messages always work best.

Never assume that you are aiming at everyone – that simply isn’t the case. Be specific, and build a niche. You will yield better results with a smaller group of people, and create much needed brand awareness. Don’t worry – those looking for your product who aren’t in your buyer persona will find you.

The last tip: Don’t be cold about your buyer personas – give them a name! While you don’t want to ever share a buyer persona with the outside world, naming them for you and your team will help humanize the persona during marketing conversations. Just for you, I’ll share one of our buyer persona names. We call one of them “Entrepreneur Ed”!

Not sure where to start? Download our free Buyer Persona template, and immediately improve your marketing strategies!

Download Your Free Buyer Persona Template!

Kickstart your marketing efforts by better understanding your customers!

About the Author

Joshua Cook
Chief Branding Navigator

Josh is a passionate marketer, founder of Creative Compass, and general caffeine addict. Building on 13 years of experience working with brands like Toyota, Samsung, and The Macallan scotch, Josh aims to provide entrepreneurs with marketing materials to help them build their own something amazing.

Looking for help with marketing fundamentals? Shoot Josh an email!

About the Author

Joshua Cook
Chief Branding Navigator

Josh is a passionate marketer, founder of Creative Compass, and general caffeine addict. Building on 13 years of experience working with brands like Toyota, Samsung, and The Macallan scotch, Josh aims to provide entrepreneurs with marketing materials to help them build their own something amazing.

Looking for help with marketing fundamentals? Shoot Josh an email!

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Buyer Personas are crucial, but don't stop there!

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