January 13, 2022

What Is a Buyer Persona and Why Did We Change Ours?

Whether you are new to marketing or a seasoned professional, the chances are that you have heard of a “buyer persona.” Hubspot defines buyer personas as “semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” 

That is exactly how PHOS has approached our personas — until recently. After seeing how we actually applied these marketing tools over time, we realized that they weren’t quite as marketer-friendly as they once were. Therefore, we would like to amend that definition to add, “…that help you make informed marketing strategy decisions.”

That may seem like a no-brainer, but over the years, what was considered helpful in marketing has changed along with the way people approach decision-making. Therefore, the tools that we use for these tasks must also change! Here are some ways we have updated our buyer personas that resulted in a better tool for marketers in 2022.

Changes We Made

Useful Storytelling 

One of the first things to change was our buyer persona format. Our original personas utilized multiple paragraphs to tell this imaginary character’s story. While this was a great method for painting a descriptive picture, it wasn’t functional as a quick reference point for strategy development. 

Our updated buyer personas still tell a story but in a way that is far more efficient for marketing and sales teams to use. We no longer use large paragraphs but rather break down descriptions into easy-to-consume bullet points and only use defining adjectives. 

Updated Targeting

It seems every month brings a new demographic or data point useful for specific targeting amongst an audience. While some persona factors are always relevant (e.g., age, gender, location), we added even more information to our personas for better targeting capabilities based on each client’s needs.

For example, if our client knows they want to utilize LinkedIn ads in their marketing mix, we look at what targeting is currently available for their industry. Anything from skills, job titles, or industry categories will contribute to a well-thought-out, useful persona. 

Purchase Criteria Focus

The end goal of almost any marketing campaign, Google ad, or social media post is to transform a lead into a sale. If that’s the case, why should a buyer persona be any different?

Within our buyer personas, we added an entire section devoted to a persona’s purchasing decisions which includes 1) how they like to consume information and 2) how they make decisions. This section gives the user a clear picture of how, where, and what a persona researches. A personal favorite in this area is the persona’s pain points.

Pain Point: a persistent or recurring problem (as with a product or service) that frequently inconveniences or annoys customers

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Defining exactly what problems this persona is looking to solve goes a long way for writing content that they actually want to engage with. 

Personas Are A Powerful Marketing Resource

The process of creating a buyer persona puts you in the shoes of a potential customer. It should contain elements of emotion, circumstance, and preference, but those details should not come at the cost of usability. The exact sections of a persona may change a little depending on the needs of a client, but the intention stays the same — creating a customer profile that allows for a better, more specific marketing strategy.

Do you want to utilize buyer personas in your marketing strategy but don’t know where to start? Our top-tier marketing team can create, define, and leverage personas specific to your business’s needs. Get in touch and let us do the hard work for you.

Julie Anne Christmas Kimble

As an Inbound Marketing Executive, Julie Anne is passionate about using storytelling to communicate a client’s brand effectively. She believes in the power of clear messaging and interpersonal relationships for building a client’s engaging marketing strategy.

When away from her desk, you can find Julie Anne looking at airplane tickets, planning a dance party, or singing in the praise band at church. Her travels include over 10 states and 6 countries, but she is always looking to add another stamp to her passport. She loves her family, baking, and singing at the top of her lungs while driving.