Developing Buyer Personas is a foundational task for strategic content marketing. We define a Buyer Persona as “the documented embodiment of a single representative of your target audience that represents a segment of your audience as a whole, in a way that can meaningfully affect your strategy, conversion architecture and marketing content production.” We published a blog post earlier in the year that dissects this definition into its component parts and provides more background information on buyer personas.
Due to the importance placed on buyer personas we have included a Persona Journey tool in our content marketing strategy software. This tool allows you to create a buyer persona, including demographic and psychographic information. You can then take the persona through your buyer cycle stages, so that you plan the content you will need at each stage to convert each persona. It’s worth mentioning that everything within this tool is customizable to how you think about Buyer Personas, such as what sections, fields and values that are presented, including changing the names and numbers of buyer cycle stages, or even changing the word buyer cycle to something more meaningful to your business, for instance.
There’s only so much you can convey in words though, so in this post we provide you with a sample buyer persona and talk you through the various aspects of it.
Demographics and User Profile
This screenshot shows the layout of a buyer persona for a sample marketing executive in the computer software industry with demographic and user profile information included.
- The personal demographic information gives you a feel for who the person is: the generation they belong to, their educational background and their gender. This helps you to get a feel for cultural references they will relate to and the level of knowledge you can assume they possess.
- The business demographic focuses on the size of the company and the industry they operate in. This give you a better idea of the kinds of budgets you will be dealing with, layer of management within the company, general marketing team size and a feeling for the approvals process that will exist within the company.
- Decision Authority refers to the role this persona plays in the decision-making process. They could be the ultimate decision maker, or they could have an influence on the decision. They could also be an initiator or gatekeeper who has been tasked with compiling a list of possible solutions that will in turn be passed onto more senior team members for evaluation.
- Competitive product user determines whether or not they are currently using an offering provided by one of your competitors. If they are a user of a competitive product you will need to have comparisons available as part of your awareness and consideration content.
- New, Current or Previous user determines their familiarity with your offering. If they were a previous user you should have comparisons with new and older versions of your offering. This would include a breakdown of new features or services that are now available.
- Type of user and familiarity level speak to how in depth of knowledge they currently have, and the expectations they will have for the breadth of content you will provide. Occasional users who are not very familiar will just need a brief overview of plus points with perhaps a one-pager to review. Power users that are very familiar, as in this case, will be much more demanding and will expect multiple case studies, competitor comparisons and technical details on your solution.
- Sources of information talk to where this persona goes for information as part of their research process and thus in a way dictate the spread of content types and channels that you will need to address in order to be where your customer goes.
Psychographics and Buyer Cycle Stages
This screenshot shows the second part of the Buyer Persona, which goes into more depth on the individual, and then takes the person through the seven stages of the buyer cycle (Awareness->Interest->Consideration->Purchase->Support->Loyalty->Advocacy). This 7-stage model is how we at Marketing.AI think about the Buyer Cycle. Many of our customers though see it differently, with different names for stages, different numbers of stages, and even a different name for the idea of a cycle or customer journey, for example calling it instead an Engagement Cycle. All of this can and should be configured in Marketing.AI to fit how you and your team think about this element of content strategy.
- This delves further into the kind of person that you are dealing with. Lifestyle, personal goals and challenges give you an idea of their values and their personal motivations. It can be useful when creating metaphors or referencing non-work related topics.
- Professional goals and business challenges speaks more to the individual and how they interact with their company. This is where you can speak to the potential for added responsibility upon implementation of your solution that could lead to career progression within their company.
- Preferred voice and tone is a very important element in your content creation. Different personas may require vastly different tones. Striking the right chord can mean the difference between the content resonating versus falling flat.
Buyer Cycle Stages
- Touchpoints indicate where your persona comes into contact with your content at this stage of the buyer cycle. In our example we’ve chosen the early touchpoints will be on our website, blog, social media or advertising. In later stages, such as support or loyalty it is more likely the touchpoints are in a support forum, or through an email.
- Mindset outlines what is going through the persona’s head at this stage. This could be what they are trying to achieve, the questions or concerns they have and any prejudices they might hold.
- Actions can refer to the actions you will take to engage the persona at this stage, or the actions that you want them to take.
- General is a catch-all, for any additional information you find appropriate that doesn’t fit into the other categories, but you want your users to take note of when creating content at this stage of the buyer cycle.
Hopefully this sample buyer persona has provided you with a detailed guide as to how to make the most of your Persona Journey tool. If you have any other questions or need help creating your personas our Customer Success Team is on hand to help you out at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a new user you can sign up for a FREE Trial and we will show you how to setup your buyer personas on a demo.