In order for you to be able to achieve the desired success with your marketing strategies, you need precise knowledge of the decision-making processes and needs of your potential customers. The more detailed the picture of your customer, the better marketing strategies can be tailored to them. But what exactly is a buyer persona and how can you effectively take it into account in everyday work?
Difference between a buyer persona and a target audience
A target group represents all potential customers whom you would like to address with a marketing campaign. It is, so to speak, a subset of the overall market and arises from market segmentation.
Your goal should be to narrow down your target group as precisely as possible in order to minimize the wastage of your campaign. Overall, you can use different approaches, such as:
- Sociodemographic (age, education, gender);
- Psychological characteristics (early adopters and late adopters);
- Media appropriation (certain social networks, devices, content).
A target audience is a heterogeneous group of people, which means that the individual potential customers are faceless.
The concept of the buyer persona was developed so that your ideal customers can be addressed even more precisely. Unlike a target group, this is a fictitious individual who represents your typical customer.
The concept of the buyer persona makes it easier for you as an entrepreneur to better understand the needs of your ideal customers. As a result, you can create better content.
Information that will help you to define the buyer personas in more concrete terms is mainly obtained from interviews with your existing customers or market research. In order to build an effective customer persona, you have to put in some effort. But it will definitely be worth it.
Why you need to focus on relevant data
When it comes to B2B companies, purchasing decisions are often made by a team, the Buyer Center. In contrast to the B2C area, knowledge about the personal preferences of the customer is therefore not very helpful, because the interests of the company are in the foreground.
Decisions are made collectively and pass through several competence centers before they are finalized. Therefore, consider the company as a whole as your B2B buyer persona. When researching, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- In which industry is the company active and what position does it occupy there?;
- How big is the company?;
- What are its goals and what problems does it face in achieving them?;
- How can my product/service help?;
- How are decisions made in the company?;
- What information do I need to provide to make the purchase decision easier?;
- What are the most effective channels for delivering this information?
If a company is mainly made up of individuals who have decision-making power, you can incorporate some personal data. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What position does the decision-maker hold and since when?;
- What do they want to achieve personally through their purchasing decisions?;
- Are they willing to take risks?
Don't go into too much detail: contact persons change frequently and decision-making powers are redistributed. A profile that is too personal will lose its relevance.
In any case, be careful not to get lost in hypothetical assumptions. By definition, the B2B buyer persona is based on collected data and information. The creation of your desired customer, therefore, requires some research. Your existing customers are a good starting point for this information. A common practice to learn more about these is through short interviews:
- How does the customer perceive your company?;
- How did they find you?;
- What do they expect from you?
How customer journey maps can help you
Similar to experience mapping, customer journey maps describe the visualization of the experiences that customers have with a company or a brand in the course of their journey from the first contact to the loyal customer.
Just as a film tells a story as a sequence of individual scenes, a customer journey map visualizes the customer experience as a sequence of steps.
A customer journey map is representative of a typical experience that certain personas, customer groups, or customer segments have with a company. The purpose of CJM is to understand how customers see the buying process with its phases, sub-steps, and touchpoints at which they interact with your company.
It makes visible what the customer experiences during their trip and how they evaluate their experience with your company, your brand. An effective customer journey map can help you find and solve customer pain points.
The most impressive thing about customer journey maps is that they can help you improve your business by better understanding your customers. From your customers' perspective, you can:
- Challenge the status quo.
- Identify and resolve reasons for friction points.
- Understand and fix the reasons for decreasing satisfaction scores or other KPIs. Focus on your customers instead of your internal processes.
As long as you do all of this, you can ensure a smooth experience for your customers at all contact points and across all channels.
In summary, it should be emphasized once again how important it is to know your customers. Do not forget to check whether the buyer persona is up-to-date at regular intervals by repeating interviews with your customers. This not only gives you the latest information but also strengthens your business image.