The customer -or Buyer Persona- is central to the Customer Journey. A Buyer Persona is a semi-fictional representation of your customer. The buyer persona is drawn up based on a workshop in which pain points, purchase arguments, and objections are distilled and supplemented with existing customer data, for example from a CRM. The main focus of the workshop is the pain points. What keeps your buyer persona busy?
The more specific the pain points, the better you know how to approach the buyer persona. A good buyer persona provides insight and can help with sales, marketing, and communication.
How do you create a buyer persona?
A buyer persona is in itself not real – it is not one person but a composition of several insights, opinions, and facts. Therefore, it is essential to set up the buyer persona with a group during a workshop. This group can consist of colleagues from sales, marketing, communication, field staff, the service desk, and, if possible, even a few regular customers. If your company is not that big, a small team will also suffice. Knowledge of your direct target group is essential.
Before you get going
A lot of data about your current customer is already within reach. For example, if you use Google Analytics you already know the average age and gender of your site visitors.
The reNature Buyer Persona is between 25 and 34 years old (40%) and has equal amounts of men and women.
Social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram also give you detailed information about your followers. Think about whether your site visitors and followers are indeed your Buyers. To illustrate: Suppose you are a hip advertising agency - it could be that the majority of your Insta followers are actually fellow advertising industry colleagues.
Together in the Buyer Persona Workshop, you define:
- The profile that describes your ideal customer.
- The immediate need that causes the buyer persona to search for an 'answer'.
- The success factors that indicate what the buyer persona expects from this 'answer'.
- The potential barriers that may prevent the buyer persona from investing in your product or other solutions.
- The decision criteria that the buyer persona takes into account in their final decision.
- The motto that describes exactly what the buyer persona is looking for. And the answer that describes what you have to offer.
- The summary is a short paragraph in which everything above is combined to make a description of this ‘person’.
Two Buyer Persona examples
We developed the following buyer persona for a consultancy that focuses on government, healthcare, and education - a client of Bohemia Amsterdam.
Inge, the regional manager
Inge is a regional manager at 'de Goede Ree' care institution. Her environment describes her as 'intelligent', 'involved', 'a cross-thinker' and 'ambitious'. She is satisfied in her current position as manager but is open to a position on the Board of Directors.
Inge wants to make an impact in her organisation by initiating a shift at the management level that will lead to changes throughout the entire company. It is not going well; she was mistaken about the size and complexity of the project and is therefore stalling. She isn’t getting support from the management team, and when suddenly important staff members resign due to her change plans, she panics.
Realising she needs help, she searches for a consultancy. A solid appearance, a critical eye, and a co-creating attitude: that is what she expects from a consultancy. She wants a warm external partner who does not take over the change project but helps her regain control.
Inge first wants personal contact with her selection of consultancy firms. Only when she truly feels understood does she feel confident that the consultancy can handle her complex question.
Buyer persona number two was developed by us for a Dutch producer of sanitary design ware:
Joyce knows who she is and what she wants. In terms of interior, she is in charge at home. The only thing that her husband finds important is that it not be above budget, which is also important for Joyce. It's a bit of a hobby from her to go bargain hunting for high-quality objects.
The new house that they are going to move into with their two adolescent children has been left untouched for years. Before they move in, the kitchen and the two bathrooms will be renovated.
Joyce has already done some online research and knows roughly what is available on the market. She would like something she can flaunt, so the brand Villeroy is on her list. She was referred by the installer to the retailer, with whom she will brainstorm the bathroom interior for an afternoon. Once at home, she has a look through everything once more and then decides whether she agrees with the offer.
She likes timelessly modern - as long as it is practical and not all too expensive. Something being a "Dutch product" weighs in her choice but is not the deciding factor.
After the workshop
Once you have drawn up the buyer persona together, it is advisable to check it against a survey among your current customers or site visitors. Measuring twice ensures your buyer persona measures up.
Stop at three personas
It is tempting to set up a buyer persona for each and every product. Someone who books an active holiday to the Apennine Mountains has different wishes than someone who books a sunny beach holiday to Aruba, right? In many cases, the final degrees of difference between the personas turn out to be insufficient. The credo is the less the better.
How do you proceed in such a case?
Think about the overarching pain point. In the example above: "I want to have a holiday my way." Holidays are about getting back in touch with yourself, getting out there, and enjoying. Exactly how this happens varies from person to person.
Think about the overarching difference. The Apennine Mountains versus Aruba… or Active versus Passive? You can also enjoy an active holiday in Aruba. In other words, the destination is not an end in itself. In this case, the interpretation of 'my way' is the differentiator.
Think about what other differentiators could make a difference. If your product or service also relies heavily on the personal situation of the buyer persona, it sometimes makes sense to set up separate buyer personas for this. Then consider whether you really need to create new personas or if you are creating some sort of subgroup within the main group. In the case of the tour operator: young individuals, young families, families with older children, and the elderly.
A buyer persona profile gives you a clear picture of your (potential) customer, the buyer. You gain insight because you analyse all the facts and map out the advantages and counterarguments of your customer. The profile you create will help you and your team make decisions such as:
- What are our sales arguments?
- Which media are we going to use?
- What topics should we blog about?
- How can we up-sell?
- Where does the potential customer drop out?