“Is it a man or a woman? How old are they? What are their primary goals? What obstacles are they facing?” This is marketing Guess Who? and it’s what makes inbound marketing different and more successful than traditional marketing. It is how you can construct your company’s ‘Buyer Personas’ and use them to create relevant and tailored content for a targeted audience.
Megaphone vs. Magnet Marketing
Traditional marketing was like a megaphone. It blasted out sales pitches at top volume, focusing on trying to grab the attention of everyone, regardless of whether they wanted to be pitched or not. This approach is outdated now, mostly because buyer habits are evolving with the introduction of the internet, giving easy access to information. The seller is no longer the gatekeeper of information – in fact, thanks to the internet, the buyer has already made up 60% of their purchase decision before talking to your sales team. Which is why it’s important to know as much as you can about who you’re interacting with.
To do this you have to know who it is you are selling to, which is where the Buyer Personas and a quick game of Guess Who? come in.
What Exactly is a ‘Buyer Persona’?
Before we play the game, lets understand what exactly makes up a Buyer Persona. Simply put, buyer personas are semi-fictional, generalised representations of your ideal customers. Drawing on research into the demographics, behaviours, concerns and goals of your current and prospective customers, you create a picture that helps you to understand and internalise who it is that you’re talking to.
This research is done by conducting interviews and surveys and using real data to make an educated speculation on what motivates your customer. Having this understanding of your future customers will ensure you are utilising that remaining 40% of indecision to make the sale and, more importantly, provide a solution for the customer in question (remember – inbound marketing is about being helpful).
Because at the end of the day, inbound marketing is a customer-centric methodology. It’s about empowering the customer and building trust through every interaction with them. Buyer personas help to build that understanding and trust between your company and your customers, because you are listening, not pitching. This knowledge and understanding enables you to create highly targeted content that puts forward effective solutions for your customers.
How to Play the Game (and Win)
So, let’s play Guess Who? (answering with the data collected during your customer interviews and educated speculation):
- Question One: Are they a man or a woman?
- Question Two: How old are they?
- Question Three: Do they have a family? (Single/Married/Children)
- Question Four: What is their educational background? Did they get a degree or go straight into the workforce?
- Question Five: What is their household income?
- Question Six: What is their defining mannerism? Are they an Enterprising Eddie? Or a Leading Larry?
- Question Seven: Where do they get their information? (LinkedIn / Facebook / Twitter / Google / word of mouth)
- Question Eight: What are their primary and secondary goals?
- Question Nine: What are the primary and secondary challenges to the persona’s success in reaching these goals?
- Question Ten: What are the most common objections this persona will raise during the sales process?
- Question Eleven: What is a key quote that sums up this persona? (Can be taken from interviews with current customers)
- Give your persona a name and a story. This helps to create a more concrete character. Identifying their needs, behaviours and buying habits will help you to know exactly who you are talking to. Not as a grey box titled ‘main demographic,’ but as a buyer persona who represents the needs and goals of your current target customers.
- Find the right balance between being general and being specific. Some of the questions above may seem like they are creating too specific a story. Some may even seem sexist/ageist/etc. While it’s important to keep your buyer personas fairly general and not rule out potential customers because they don’t exactly match the persona, it’s also important to be realistic about who your customers are (if they are 95% male, then have male personas) and to create a picture of a specific person that helps your team to understand who you’re targeting.
- Lead gen forms should capture the information necessary to segment by your personas. For example, if you have personas that are age-specific, then ask for people’s age in your forms. By capturing this information you will be able to target that person with content that is relevant to their needs, interests and goals.
- Customer interviews can help to establish goals, pain points, and thoughts about your service/product. All of this information can be used to form tailored and specific buyer personas that can then be split into primary and secondary personas.
- Talk to your sales team. Who are they interacting with most? What do these leads have in common with each other? Identify trends in these groups and you are well on your way to creating a primary buyer persona for your business.
Now we’ve played Marketing Guess Who? you should have at least a rough idea of your first Buyer Persona. By using these personas, the end goal is to create remarkable and highly targeted content that attracts the right customers to your business.