Competition is more aggressive than ever in our space and a key to differentiation is cutting through the noise. Getting the attention of buyers and stakeholders is proving increasingly difficult so understanding them is the first step.
Buyer personas have long been a valuable asset in any business’s marketing toolkit. Too many times we hear “I don’t need a buyer persona” – and whilst that may be true, you don’t have to have a buyer persona, how effective will your marketing truly be if you haven’t defined who you are marketing to?
Buyer personas are more than marketing jargon
Buyer personas, if created properly, define and segment buyers, help us understand their needs and challenges, and inform where marketing efforts should be placed.
Sometimes companies also map out their targets to define the size, scope, and locations of the companies they are trying to target. This along with buyer personas = target synergy.
Ok, so break it down for me
Buyer personas are research-based, semi-fictional representations of your actual customers. However you choose to lay them out, or design them, they should include key features including descriptions of who your buyers are, what challenges they face, plus the emotional and functional influences that inform their decisions.
What, why & how?
It’s common to have multiple buyer personas per business (usually around two to four) which accounts for different company types, job functions, and stakeholders. Personas can last anywhere up to three years depending on growth and changes in the business or marketplace, but we advise you to review them annually. The life science sector is not standing still, and neither are your buyers.
Buyer personas (or at least great ones) are developed using actual data about existing customers, along with some educated assumptions. At ramarketing, we interview customers and non-customers (prospects) and typically recommend at least three to five interviews per persona, but the more interviews we conduct, the more data we have to work with to identify themes. Next, we use data synthesis to build out buyer personas into fully-fledged usable documents, which become a staple part of your marketing strategy.
Can buyer personas be created without research? In theory, yes, of course you can, and new startups often have to, however, research is a better route. Without the research, personas are based on assumption rather than customer context. By talking to customers and non-customers, you can ensure that each buyer persona is grounded in truth.
The importance of buyer personas in today’s marketing world
The purpose of having personas is to help you focus on your buyers’ needs, challenges, and motivations, rather than just promoting what you offer and hoping something sticks.
When creating a marketing plan, you should start with the end-user in mind, asking yourself – how do you address customer challenges through your marketing? What do they want to hear, see, and feel from you?
Now put your personas into play…
One of the primary functions of buyer personas is to ensure a well-resolved insights-led messaging platform is developed that can be tailored to your audience. By putting yourself in your buyers’ shoes, you can develop highly targeted marketing campaigns, and focus on creating content that truly addresses their needs and challenges.
Personas are also vital in digital marketing strategy when used to consider user journeys and how each buyer will interact with websites, email messages and events.
We recommend segmenting your customer databases into persona segments that are then used for targeting digital and pay-per-click campaigns (making sure the right people see the right message).
Companies that use personas to segment and target their customers can improve engagements, boost lead generation, raise awareness and ultimately support the achievement of commercial targets.