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How to build a persona that has it all?

Combining qualitative and quantitative data with our buyer persona map.

Did you know that according to the Buyer Persona Institute only 30% of marketing efforts reach the right people? And that in fact, 70% of people’s precious time is wasted as they have absolutely no impact on the buying decision of potential customers? These numbers show that broad targeting or not knowing well enough your (potential) customer can be fatal for a business. And that’s exactly where buyer personas come in.

Persona /pəˈsəʊnə,pəːˈsəʊnə/
In normal and understandable terminology, a buyer persona is the full detailed description of the perfect customer for your business.

If you Google ‘buyer personas’, the first results that appear on your search engine result page are all buyer personas based on basic quantitative data. Think of the Hubspot persona generator that only takes into account pure facts & figures. If you now look at these personas from a digital experimentation / advertisers point of view, you start wondering where the human touch dropped out. You don’t want to target a specific segment of customers purely based on demographic data. Don’t you? You want to target people based on intrinsic attributes, their drivers & motivators. The reasons they get out of bed every single morning! 

And that is where our buyer persona map can lend you a hand! This buyer persona generation map allows you to mix qualitative and quantitative data to a persona that has it all. 

This comprehensive overview of your ideal buyer persona is crucial at every stage of the marketing funnel and can even be your backbone in a lot of other business areas. They i.a. can help to identify where your best customers spend time on the internet – so you can be there too. They can also guide product & service development. If you know what your personas are trying to achieve, you can create things to help them reach their goals and overcome their challenges. Furthermore, personas can help to create the right content. The right content will most effectively attract your ideal visitors, convert them into leads, and close/keep them into customers. But there are plenty more ways buyer personas can be of value, … 

Before we go crazy with our buyer persona map, post-its & sharpies we want to take you back in time. Back to the golden circle. No, we’re not talking about that tourist route in southern Iceland, covering about 300 kilometres looping from Reykjavík into the southern uplands of Iceland and back. We’re talking about the golden circle of Simon Sinek, the godfather of the why-question.

Most people usually approach the golden circle outside-in. They start with what (stuff everyone knows), continue frightened but cautiously with how (stuff some people know) and drop out before answering the why (stuff very few people know). And as we get nervous of unfinished business, we were determined to tackle all phases in our buyer persona map

This outside-in approach is also reflected in the way our buyer persona map (that you should print out & lay in front of you) is build up. If you take a gander at the buyer persona map, you immediately see the map is built up out of 4 different phases tackling step-by-step the what, the how & the why. 

Buyer persona map

Build a persona that has it all by combining qualitative and quantitative data in our buyer persona map.

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Now you know the story of the golden circle & know why it’s absolutely essential, inevitable & imperative to have a buyer persona, we and Richard (our example buyer persona) will walk you through the 4 different phases.

Phase 1

Demographic attributes
What are the quantifiable statistics about your audience? Such as age, income, company size/industry, etc. Who are your buyers? 

In this phase it’s all about quantitative data. In case you are working in a B2B environment, we expect you to flourish up the white space of phase 1 with firmographic attributes of the audience you’re trying to target. Think of the number of employees, the decision makers, … If you’re doing your job well, the white space in phase 1 should be filled with data you actually can find online. 

Example: The fictive buyer persona we aim to reach is Richard. Richard is a 32 years old guy from San Francisco. He’s the founder of a tech startup with 20 employees. His startup is his little baby as his marital status is single.

Phase 2

Psychographic attributes 
What are your audience attitudes, opinions, values? What are their interests and motivations? Why do people buy your product?

In the second phase of the buyer persona map, you’ll dig deeper into the interests of your audience. You’ll find out what drives & motivates them. You’ll find out their why. Why do they do what they are doing? What gets them out of their bed every single morning? 

Example: Richard is a technophile and visionaire. He’s resilient and believes in decentralisation. Richard is a hardcorde gamer and likes to watch Netflix. He’s frequently present on tech meet-ups and likes to leave his mark on the world wide web by commenting on Disqus. 

Phase 3

Behavioural attributes
What actions do your customers take?
 How frequently do they take these actions? What influences their decision making process?

The third, behavioural, phase of the buyer persona map is strongly correlated with the second, psychographic, phase.  In the third phase it’s about the what. What actions does your audience take to fit their why. How do they transform their claims into facts, into concrete actions? What do they do to achieve their interests? These data can often be found via analytical tools such as Google Analytics, think of their affinity & interest reports, … 

Example: Richard frequently shops online, preferably company swag because that’s what he likes to wear. He uses his Macbook full of stickers to share memes and post content on Reddit.

Phase 4

Needs-based attributes
What are the distinct needs your customers have? What are their goals? What are the frustrations/gains customers have with your product/service?

The last phase of the buyer persona map focuses on the goals of your audience. In this phase it’s time to zoom in on the jobs your audience wants to get done & the frustrations that appear when trying to do so.  

Example: Richard doesn’t want to be generic, he wants to be in trend. Preferably, even before the hype. For Richard user experience & convenience are key. Whenever making a purchase, Richard wants all product information on forehand. But on the other hand, Richard is very privacy conscious and is not at all eager to share his personal data online.

Now you filled out the full buyer persona map, you can use the output to understand potential customer attributes and inform future marketing tactics. But before we let you go to level up your marketing efforts with the buyer persona map, we want to warn you for some big persona red flags you should bear in mind! 

  1. Ideally you kick off the buyer persona mapping with a preparatory survey. In this survey, that you can send out both internally but also externally to customers, you probe for what will define your buyer persona. This way of doing explorative research will facilitate the mapping process later on, as the survey triggers people to start thinking about it on forehand. 
  2. While mapping your buyer persona, be aware of the HIPPO. No, we don’t mean the large, mostly herbivorous, semiaquatic mammal often referred to as hippopotamus. We just want you to be aware to not get biased by the highest paid person’s opinion. If you abbreviate the last four words of the previous sentence, you know where HIPPO comes from.  
  3. Buyer personas are a work in progress. Always. They will and should never be finished. After your product/service launch, after you ran a campaign, after whatever you did related to your business, … you should reflect and eventually make small tweaks on your buyer persona. 

Now you’ve visualized and better understand your customer segment thank to our buyer persona map, you can effectively raise the bar on your marketing efforts. Good luck & give a heads-up if you’re stuck, we are eager to help!