What is a Buyer-Persona?
Get your brush - a face for your target group.
Colorful, diverse, individual - these are the recipients of marketing campaigns, the users of social media or websites, the people on the Internet. But how do you know how colorful, diverse and individual they really are?
What are personas?
Before we dive deep into the topic and answer the question of how to design personas, let's first take a look at what exactly personas - or buyer personas - are. We have taken a closer look at various sources and we asked ChatGPT.
This is what the Gabler business dictionary says - a definition from psychology: Personas are an outwardly displayed attitude of a person. In the field of UX design, a persona is the identity in all its facets and when creating them, people often use the social milieu from Sinus Institute.
This is how online marketing practice describes personas: they are user models that characterize people belonging to a target group with their characteristics. They are often also provided with a name, a picture and a fictitious curriculum vitae, so that the extensive description can help to put oneself in the position of the potential users.
Now, what does Chat GPT say when asked to define persona? Personas are understood as fictional people created by companies or organizations so that one can describe and understand the needs, interests and behaviors. They are usually created based on data and information so that the representation becomes as representative as possible. Behavior patterns are also important.
So what do these 3 definitions have in common?
Personas have the purpose of defining a target group more precisely and thus understanding it better. Personas are an image of reality, based on data and information. Personas should help to put oneself in the shoes of the users or recipients when developing a website, a campaign or a strategy.
Sounds quite useful, doesn't it? Personas certainly are - let's take a look at how to create them.
There are several methods to build buyer personas. You can use research, surveys or interviews with the intended target group - or you can use the information that the company already has. If a company has a contact database, valuable information may be available there - the company's sales team may also have a piece of info or two that can help.
If one proceeds with research, there are many templates that need to be filled. The following aspects should be described:
Demographic data such as age and gender
Occupational description including the occupational environment
Basic needs and expectations
Interests and motivational aspects
Needs related to the product, the brand and the company
Needs related to the content/ communication
Use of social networks
Information acquisition through [...]
Challenges and wishes
There are many more aspects that can be described. Using images for the "face" of the target audience can be quite helpful, as can giving the persona a name. Hubspot has a great article that takes an all-around look at personas, if you want to read up, you can find it here.
If you're scared off at this point because you don't have enough information, let me tell you this: it's better to start than to have no personas. Therefore, setting the goal of gradually completing the exact picture of a persona helps the company more than leaving it alone. The company's own empirical data can also be used and should then be verified over time. Information from the Federal Statistical Office can be just as helpful, because it gives us a picture of society in Germany in many different areas.
Even if it looks like a lot of work at first, creating personas has more than one benefit - and we'll take a closer look at that now.
Benefits of personas
Creating personas is something that should be done calmly. Therefore, the question arises here - justifiably - what benefit personas have, if you take time to create them.
5 reasons to create personas:
They are the basis for marketing communication
The target group gets a face
The customer journey can be planned more easily
The customer is always in focus
It promotes strategic planning and thinking
Want a few more details? No problem:
Point 1: Personas are the foundation for all marketing communication and also every strategy and campaign. The reason for this is that in marketing, for example, you aim to increase the company's reach. You can only do that in a targeted and planned way if you know who you want to address and, when you regularly check your marketing results, you can also measure when you are really addressing and how much that differs from the original definition. Personas are essential for this.
Point 2: Putting a face to the target audience - Every company and brand has a target audience. But a target group is a collection of many people who have commonalities. Going one level deeper and adding different buyer personas to the target group creates a reflection of that target group, assigning names, experiences, needs and more to the people. Not only is this the first step to more personalization in marketing, the number of sales is proven to go up as a result. So, put a face to your target audience.
Point 3: We once wrote an article on the customer journey, which you can find here. So if you want to know what "the customer journey" is all about, you can read up on it there. This journey can be designed and accompanied more precisely if you know who will go on it or who has already gone on it. Therefore - form buyer personas.
Point 4: If the entire marketing strategy has been built with the help of personas, which we can only strongly advise, this has the great side effect that the customer is always in focus. This is because the view of the customer, as well as the customer's perspective, becomes more and more accurate - so you also know what goes down well and what just doesn't work. And all of this revolves around the customer.
Point 5: With personas, you don't just define a campaign that fizzles out like a one-hit wonder - you address the target group and its members on a different level - this is more sustainable in the long term. Because all new measures already have a starting point - the customer.
So it's clear that it pays to create buyer personas and continually develop them in marketing.
The buyer persona, unlike the target group, has a concrete face with a described curriculum vitae, needs, desires and preferred communication channels. They move along a journey - the buyer journey - and once this is defined, it can become easier for companies to map and understand how buying decisions can be made, but also influenced. This approach makes it possible to answer the question, "What would our ideal customer behave like?"