When I created B2B marketing buyer personas (“personae” for those of you who studied Latin) for one of my clients last year, it became crystal clear why they beat working from demographic and even psychographic profiles hands-down. Years ago it was considered a standard marketing practice to create marketing programs with demographics in mind. You had a profile based on age, gender, income, ethnicity, and other factual data and you marketing to that profile. Great!
Then, we marketers got a little smarter. We starting profiling not only on demographics but also on psychographics. Marketing wasn’t just about age and income but also about behaviors, feelings and beliefs. What made our target audience tick? What did they like or dislike? How do they spend their time? We appealed to our prospects’ emotions and made connections. Even better!
Now we have marketing buyer personas. What are these? In the blog entry, My Shoe Fetish & Why Personas Are Invaluable for Marketing, Marketing Sherpa describes the process of creating marketing personas:
“You create research-based characters each matching one of the very distinct groups of folks who visit your site or view your marcom. And then you make sure there’s distinct content on that site or marcom specifically created to please each of them.”
Here is a sample persona, modified for public use:
Buyer Persona: Scott the Go-Getter
Meet Scott. He’s 27 years old. He worked at four different jobs right out of school and then his father Joe, CEO of a manufacturing company, hired him. Scott is connected on social networking sites and is apt to multi-task by Tweeting or text messaging. He loves computer games. He is trying to convince his Dad that the company would benefit from going green and doing some cause marketing. He is a little shy about working with senior employees but also impatient with what he perceives as a slow pace and lack of sophistication.
Scott is a Millennial. He grew up with the Oklahoma City bombings, schoolyard violence, TV talk shows and I.T. His attitude is, “Tell me something I don’t know.” He’s confident, flexible and civic-minded. He likes teamwork, social events and diversity. He’s very connected with his peers and follows the best thought industry leaders online. Even though he pushes his Dad for change, he’s very close to both his parents.
When you write stories about your customer types or marketing personas, you are so much more able to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You are that much closer to really understanding them, because you have created a story that helps you live, breath and think like them. Instead of the intellectual exercise of working from demographics and psychographics, you can experience their stories on an emotional level. Every marketing decision is much easier since you are able to live your customers’ stories.
That’s why buyer personas rule for B2B marketing.