Buyer Personas: Who is Buying Your Product?

When you think about who is buying your product, the answer shouldn’t be somebody breathing with a checkbook. We’re going to talk about a very helpful technique called Buyer Personas, which will help you determine who is buying your product and what influences them to buy.

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Sarah: Good morning! 8:00, that means it’s Marketing Mix time. So, here’s what we’re going to talk about today. All right, when you think about who’s buying your product, the answer shouldn’t be “anybody breathing with a checkbook”.

Glyna: That always cracks me up, I don’t know why.

Sarah: I know. I mean, really. But that really shouldn’t be the answer. “If they’ve got a bank account and a pulse, that’s who I want”. So today, we’re going to talk about buyer personas, which is how to determine who’s buying your product and what influences them to buy, so let’s get going.

Glyna: Good morning!

Sarah: Hey. I was so far away from my computer, I couldn’t … I had T-Rex arms, I couldn’t reach my mouse.

Glyna: It’s like lighting, lighting, lighting.

Sarah: Lighting, ugh.

Glyna: I woke up and thought, “Oh, man. It’s raining again.” Anyway, that’s an internal problem.

Sarah: The show must go on!

Glyna: Hey, we’re here! It doesn’t really matter what we look like. On the podcast, nobody knows, so we’re in good shape.

Sarah: We look stunning. That’s all you need to know.

Glyna: Stunning. Well, welcome to Marketing Mix, everybody. Every week, we like to mix up different segments and talk about different types of digital marketing because we love it. We try to keep it mixed up, like I said, with tips, trends, some Q and A’s, and maybe some interviews. You just never know what we’re going to do.

Sarah: But we always are mixing it up, that’s why we’re the Marketing Mix. But don’t forget to subscribe and follow us. We go live on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter every week. And you need to check out our podcast, Marketing and a Mic, always good stuff. And follow us on Instagram and LinkedIn. And if you haven’t already, you need to be subscribing to our YouTube channel because we are constantly putting out fresh videos, new content, all in the name of digital marketing. All right. So today, I’m really excited about this topic because I think this is something that people really don’t fully understand, so it’s going to be kind of exciting to dive into this. But we’re going to talk about how to determine who is buying your product, meaning: What do they look like? What are their interests? What motivates them? And this is what’s called a “buyer persona”. So if you’ve heard of it, great. If not, what is it? What is a buyer persona? So, it’s basically kind of a detailed description of who your target audience is, and it compiles everything from demographics, to hobbies, to career history, to their interests, to everything. It’s almost like it’s building somebody, a character who would be a real person, kind of putting it all together based on what is influencing them to buy. And what does their profile look like? The purpose of doing this is to really get a crystal clear outline of who the individuals are that you’re marketing to. So really, until you nail this down, you can’t be sure that what you’re offering and who you’re marketing to is going to be successful because you can’t just blanket it. You can’t just … It’s not throwing darts. You’ve got to be a little bit more strategic at that. But like we said, the buyer persona is almost based on real customers through kind of extensive research.

Glyna: Yeah, exactly. Everybody, I mean, a lot of people ask me, “Who’s your best target? What’s your best customer? What’s your best demographic?” And I used to always say, “Everybody,” because I thought everybody could use something that we have, which is true. But, if you really want to be more effective, you have to really think, “What person am I selling to?” And that’s the persona. And it’s like, “Do buyer personas really work?” I mean, I will say, yes they do, because I’ve seen them in action. I’ll give you an example. We had somebody who was selling actual franchises. And they thought for sure that their target market was men, was, were, men. They thought for sure they were male business owners was going to be our target. We even thought maybe mid-range in the age level 35 to 50. So, instead of us reinventing the wheel, we thought, “Hey, this guy knows what he’s talking about. He’s been selling these franchises,” so that’s what we went with. We went with that target demographic. And guess what, we didn’t get the results that we wanted. And the main reason was when we looked back at who was responding to our ads, it really wasn’t the men at all. It was their wives doing all the homework, and they were gathering all of the information. Yes, did the husband and wife together make the final decision? They did, but that wasn’t who we needed to target at the beginning. So it’s very, very important to know who you’re selling to because once we changed that, redirected our targeting, the campaign was crazy. It still is. I think we’ve been doing this for, I don’t know, four years. And they’re still selling franchises left and right, so it makes a huge difference.

Sarah: That’s wild that, yeah, what you think is in your mind of who’s buying your stuff. Unless you’ve done the research, how can you really know?

Glyna: Exactly right.

Sarah: That’s a good example. Okay. Buyer personas versus demographics. So let’s break this down really easily. So let’s pretend that you had to buy a gift for two strangers based on the following information from each. So you’ve got person A, male, excuse me, single, between the ages of 24 and 53, lives in Birmingham, makes 60K a year. Now we’ve got person B, male, travel enthusiast, tech manager, prefers email and mobile ads, motivated by price and deals, interested in college sports. So if you had to just, these are two strangers, and buy a gift, which one do you do feel like you’ve got more information on? Well, obviously it’s B. With gender, location, age and income level, those are important, but they don’t help us explain what makes them tick, meaning what motivates them. What’s their intent? What’s their behaviors? How do you sell to them? What do they use? So, really kind of demographics are statistics, I’m going to get that word out, statistics. A lot of S’s. They’re useful, and they’re almost like a starting point, so they’re useful in kind of putting together your initial marketing campaigns. But you shouldn’t just stop there because after all, you do want to know what motivates them to buy. What are their interests? So it’s kind of like: What’s your carrot? What are you going to dangle in front of them that’s going to get them to pay attention? Personas is like another level to the demographic outline and it kind of helps you better understand their buying behaviors.

Glyna: Yeah. It was kind of funny. Rob and I worked with a company, it’s been years ago, and they were asking us what our persona is. We had no clue, we didn’t even know what that meant. And when we really, really sat down and worked on this, it was funny we even got it down. Whoops.

Sarah: You even got it down to what car they drove.

Glyna: I know!

Sarah: I thought that was so fascinating that it was a truck, all kinds of wild descriptions.

Glyna: Yeah. It really was age group. And I am still maybe echoing.

Sarah: I muted and unmuted.

Glyna: Okay. But anyway, it was really, really wild to see what that person looked like. And it’s helped us really narrow down who we want to target. So, how do you create this persona? I still think the number one thing is having all your data from what you’ve sold before, to where you can go back and look at all of that information and say, “Who’s bought my product the most?” And that really helps you. But if you don’t have that data, and you just have a few customers, you still can survey your existing customers and kind of ask them different questions, and have them talk to you based on their frequency of purchase. In other words, how much have they bought something from you? Have a face to face conversation with them. Why did they start buying that product? And then take them through the journey of when they found you, and then making the final purchase. So this is really cool. Yeah, you have one-on-one interviews, survey your existing customers, check your analytics. Again, I kind of jumped the gun on that one. To me, that’s a huge thing. It’s called “digital listening”. Make sure that you’re looking at what people are doing on the internet as far as your products and services are concerned. You can talk to your employees and see what they think is the main aspect of who you should be reaching out to because they’re working in the business just like you are. And then of course, you have data enrichment tools. And that’s something that collects all of your analytics so that you can look at them more closely, so that you know who you’re supposed to be targeting.

Sarah: Yes. Yeah, very much so. Kind of use what you’ve got, and like you said, your existing customers are such a good foundation and a base to guide you. And those surveys and questionnaires are so helpful into digging a little bit deeper. So just a second point to going into creating that buyer persona. List of possible sample questions. We’ve kind of put it into four categories. So this would be sort of how you would build your questionnaire of kind of understanding and digging deeper.

Glyna: I love this graphic. Sorry.

Sarah: No. Thank you! This would be kind of existing customers. So first, you start off with your demographics, age, occupation, children, marital status. That gets you a good starting point. Then you want to talk about the interactions with the company. How did you hear about us? What were your first impressions? What attracted you to us? What’s your biggest concern? This kind of helps them into what led them to get there, to making that initial purchase decision. Online presence, this is so important because this kind of helps you. Where are you going to find them? Where do you want to target them? What social platforms do you use? What’s your process in finding something online? What blogs or online publications do you use? How often do you check emails? Your buyer process. What influenced your purchase decision the most? Who are you buying this product for? So are you the decision maker? Or is somebody else the decision maker? And that’s how that process started. What’s the most important factor when choosing a supplier? And would you purchase this again? So this leads them through their buyer’s journey, and by asking these questions, it can really help you understand kind of what motivates them and what their frustrations are, or what leads them to want to buy. So it’s just incredibly helpful, and that’s kind of how you start to build that buyer’s persona.

Glyna: And it’s not to say that you can’t sell to other people. But we’re trying to just make sure that you have the best chance at selling your product if you’re really narrowing it down to this persona. And we have a couple of examples here.

Sarah: Yes. So, a completed buyer persona, we’ve got two of them. So as you’ve gathered all that information, you put it together into their kind of profile. These are just samples. That’s not a real lady without a face.

Glyna: So, these are kind of cool, and obviously pretty fancy, but it still looks neat. Like this, for instance, this lady was age 35. She’s a sales manager making around $40,000. She’s married, kids, lives in New York, very easy going. It even gets into their personality, extrovert, liberal, attentive, what goals they have, which is very, very important, someone who wants to stay ahead of the latest trends in fashion, would like to purchase matching accessories to fit. It goes on and on and on. And one really important thing is frustrations. What frustrates her the most? What problem can you solve for her? I think that’s very important to know. A little bio, what motivates them because you want to know how to set up your ads. What motivates someone? So you have to make sure you include that when you’re targeting. And then what technologies, this is huge. What are they using to be on the internet? We determined on technologies here with her, she does a lot of online shopping, a lot of online and social media on her phone, or the latest technology. So again, this would help us target her. Now again, here’s a different one. Here’s Steve. You gave him a name. But we sell to Steve, who’s 47. And again, how does he find people? He was referred by somebody else. He likes to trust people in their decisions. He comes to the website at the beginning of his journey, or his buying journey. He isn’t interested in using the information on the site beyond research. He wants to know the latest projects, expertise, what kind of testimonials and awards you got. I mean, these are really getting down to the nitty-gritty. But again, you see pain points. Same thing is frustrations with the first persona. What are the things that frustrate them, and what are their pain points so you can sell your service to say, “Hey, I can fix that”? That’s very, very important. Solving their problems, helping frustrations, those are all key things in putting your ads together to target these people.

Sarah: Yeah. And I feel like that’s an important point of when you’re kind of building your questionnaire, survey or asking your existing customers, don’t always just touch on the positives. Really get into: So what are some things that you didn’t enjoy? What are some of the frustrations with the process? All those types of things could help you quite a bit.

Glyna: Yeah. So the most important thing when creating buyer personas is that just don’t ever assume. You need to, as we said, look at the data. Look at the analytics, all of those things, because if you’re thinking or guessing that your customers are millennials, and you’re spending all your time advertising on those platforms, but your target persona is actually a 50, maybe 50 plus and a female, that can definitely throw off your marketing campaigns. And the targeting definitely would be way off, so you just really have to think of these things. I always ask people that. Where do you think the people who are buying your product, what do they look like, and where are they spending their time? Because that’s where we want to go with our advertising.

Sarah: Yes, it’s so true. My microphone, am I echoing?

Glyna: Nope. You’re good. We’ve got all kinds of problems today.

Sarah: It’s in my mind, I’m echoing.

Glyna: Now that’s a whole other problem.

Sarah: Maybe my brain is on a delay. Oh, my goodness.

Glyna: I think that’s about it, Sarah. Again, it’s just the bottom line is, know who you’re selling to so you can be more effective in all of your marketing. So I think that’s all. Did you have anything else?

Sarah: No, no. And again, these buyer personas, it’s taking your demographics a step further. And it’s so important. So, if you need any help with any of this stuff, please let us know. As always, we’re always here to help with any questions that you have. Always reach out to us. Call Glyna. I’ve got to remember this. And don’t forget, Friday we’ve got our Biz Talk, and we’ve got special guest, again repeat guest, Steve Stearns with MortgageBanc, and he’s going to talk to us about reverse mortgages.

Glyna: Scott Stearns. You were talking about Steve.

Sarah: What did I just say? If Scott can’t come, Steve’s going to come.

Glyna: Steve was our persona, but Scott will be the guy who will be here.

Sarah: Steve is our persona. Oh, goodness me. Scott with MortgageBanc is going to be here. We’re really excited. He’s going to talk about reverse mortgages. And next Tuesday, I want to make sure this is going to be a great one. We’re going to actually have a panel on next Tuesday. And we are going to talk about generational marketing, which is going to be so fantastic because we’re going to talk about all of them, Generation X, we’re going to talk about Millennials, we’re going to talk about Baby Boomers, and how they all collectively matter, and how to best kind of market to each of them. It’s going to be-

Glyna: It’s going to be awesome.

Sarah: It’s going to be a really fun one. So thanks for tuning in, everyone. And we will catch you next week. Bye!

Glyna: Bye!