One of the most important elements of modern, inbound marketing is the customer or buyer persona - because without a target, most of your marketing messages will miss the mark.
If you are looking for the fastest way to sharpen up your marketing messages you need to get your head around the concept and value of buyer personas.
‘Your personas should inform everything your customer-facing teams do.’ - HubSpot
Personas are essentially semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research, real data and informed guesswork.
When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.
These personas allow you to really tailor your marketing communications to specific people through content that is relevant, emotive and a clear demonstration of how well you understand your customer, their pains and challenges.
Your mission is to create clear and considered definitions of your buyer personas that allow you to connect both emotionally and logically with their needs, but this process should NOT be the sole responsibility of your marketing team.
You need to utilise the wealth of customer knowledge that already exists within every area of your company. There are many ways to develop a persona but leaving it all up to your marketing manager should not be one of them. You want your personas to have value to everyone in the business so the more people you involve in creating them, the better developed and more relevant they will be.
This will ensure that your ideal customers will have a tailored experience at all points in their relationship and interactions with your company. So, let’s break down the process…
[SUGGESTED ACTIVITY: Ask for volunteers but once you have a chosen individual, work with that person to create clear objectives and a timeline of deliverables with review points.]
[SUGGESTED ACTIVITY: Arrange a whole company meeting to explain to people what is going to happen and why. Follow up with department-specific meetings to illicit input and gather feedback. Create a central place to save all information provided.]
[SUGGESTED ACTIVITY: Revisit the company mission, vision and values. Speak to key Board Members to fully understand company objectives and plan.]
[SUGGESTED ACTIVITY: Task individual departments to put together their own lists. Share the lists as that might trigger additional ideas. Collate all lists in one central location.]
[SUGGESTED ACTIVITY: Develop a rationale for this primary research. Ensure you have clear objectives, agree on the software you will use and ensure that the interviewees are reflective of the full range of demographics.]
[SUGGESTED ACTIVITY: Arrange another whole company meeting to present the personas. Arrange additional department-specific meetings to ensure the personas are going to work for individuals as well as the company as a whole. Encourage email feedback in case people are shy to feedback. Once approved, have them designed and printed professionally so that they can be displayed prominently. ]
So, you have thoroughly defined personas and you are going to tailor all of your customer-facing efforts to these well-defined, ideal customers.
This is seriously good progress and for some companies, it a point that they never seem to reach.
Persona development is an integral part of an Inbound Marketing Strategy.
So what should you do next? This whitepaper might be a great next step...