By Ryan Malone

buyer personas 101

A quality marketing campaign is made up of several components, but the foundation for success lies in truly understanding your customer. If you don't know what your ideal consumer buys, how they make purchasing decisions, or what they need to fill the gaps in their lives, you can't effectively reach the people that are most likely to become your most loyal customers. If you want to be a successful marketer, ensuring that you understand the persona of your ideal customer is the first step.

What are Buyer Personas?

A buyer persona is essentially a profile that describes your ideal customer. Most marketers are familiar with demographic profiles that include the following types of information
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Employment status
  • Marital status
  • Income level

These details can certainly provide some insight into your customers, but a buyer persona takes it to another level. When developing a buyer persona, actual customers are interviewed to get a more detailed picture that can help you make important marketing decisions. A buyer persona will include information such as:

  • Daily activities
  • Frequent challenges or pain points
  • Why certain purchasing decisions are made
  • What makes a person decide between your business and a competitor
  • How purchases are made
  • The questions they frequently ask
  • What might make their life easier

The list goes on, but the point is, buyer personas tell you much more about your target customer than a simple set of demographics.

Most businesses actually find that they interact with multiple personas; it is important to develop profiles for all of these different customer types.

Why You Should Use Buyer Personas

Virtually every inbound marketing strategy can benefit from using buyer personas. Understanding your customer can help you make the following types of decisions:
  • What type of marketing content to produce
  • Which media outlets to target
  • What elements to include or exclude from your sales process
  • What products or services you should develop

Almost every marketing decision you make should start with an evaluation of how your buyer personas are likely to respond. Over time you may find that some tactics are more effective than others, allowing you to refine your marketing strategy and get a better return on your investment.

Do you use buyer personas in your current marketing strategy?



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Ryan Malone

About the author

Ryan Malone is the founder and CEO of SmartBug Media and is a veteran of Deloitte & Touche, Seagate and several venture-backed technology companies. When he's not leading SmartBug and helping clients build high-octane marketing organizations, he's loving his wife and daughters and unsuccessfully learning the guitar. Go Terps! Read more articles by Ryan Malone.

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