Listen to the podcast:
Just so we start on the same page, let’s first identify…
What is a Buyer Persona?
A Buyer Persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. The more detailed you are, the better.
There are hundreds of free methods out there for creating a Buyer Persona, yet managers continuously make the same mistakes. These include…
- holding a single workshop, perceived as a ‘Customer Experience Kick-off’… then just moving on
- no-one referring to the Buyer Persona during a meeting or – worse – when decisions must be taken.
So, how come when you bring up the topic of the Buyer Customer everybody rolls their eyes and goes, “I know, I know…”?
Sorry, but if you knew that much you would not be facing basic problems in your projects or company, such as:
- no satisfying impact with your campaign
- no growth as planned
- no easy adoption rate of your product or services
- no positive evolution in your conversion rate.
It’s not because it’s the first step – it’s the easiest one!
Also, be aware that any good business professional will always have the very same initial question:
Who is your Customer?
Who is your Audience?
Who is your target?
These are all the same question.
So what exactly is the problem with the simple process of creating a Buyer Persona?
When you want to adopt new methods, I think it’s important to first understand the attributes you need in order to develop accordingly.
For example, if you compare it to baking, it’s not enough just to list the ingredients, some weights and measures, and to give rough step-by-step instructions. You need to understand what is essential in every step, so you don’t screw up your cake!
Because, usually, you discover the disaster once the cake comes out of the oven, right at the end of the process.
Some sound easy as you just need four basic ingredients that you already have in your cupboards… that’s not rocket science… Yet, there are some important things you still need to know to get it right; preheat your oven, cream the butter and sugar for long enough, don’t mix the sugar and eggs together first, don’t open your oven while it’s baking, etc…
Now you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this comparison, right?
Like a baking recipe, the recipe or method for creating your Buyer Persona is simple, but it’s clearly a matter of detail and practice. It’s the same with Buyer Persona creation!
So that’s why I’m sharing the secret CX ingredients you should add to any recipe you find on the internet! Because it really can be as simple as adding in some missing, secret ingredients.
As a side note, I’ve included some useful links below so you can easily find my best recipes for how to create your Buyer Persona.
In addition to my previous podcast on Buyer Persona Research, Advice and Questions to Ask, my pro-tips on the creation of CX habits can also help you to discover the 3 main managers’ biases and how to avoid them.
So, now we know what we’re dealing with, let’s do it!
What are the essential elements in the creation of your Buyer Persona?
And… REPEAT! That’s where the magic happens!
So where do I put these ingredients in the method?
Ambition is the starting point, the answers to very important questions.
Why do you need a Buyer Persona?
What do you want to achieve?
You must be goal-oriented and set this out by defining clear and tangible objectives. That forms your direction, your plan, your thread. This is super important if you don’t want to get lost in a Customer Experience maze.
Define your target group and their business potential before the investigations kickoff. You are accountable for this.
You might have a great purpose, you’re aspiring to build revenue for your project & company in a sustainable way.
Research, surveys, interviews, … This is the moment to find and crack all the data and get to the information that exists about your Buyer Persona.
You need to discover clear categories of information:
- Their values – The things, thoughts, behaviors or actions they hold in the highest regard.
- Their behaviors – The things they do repeatedly and their reactions when they face particular situations.
- Their personality – How they think; how they make decisions; their character.
- Their lifestyle – The way they live their life; which activities they do most regularly.
- Their goals – The things they are trying to achieve before, during and after the experience.
- Their influences – The people or other parties that influence and inform their decisions.
This is not a creative exercise.
You can dig further on this topic thanks to this podcast.
… and there is another important ingredient that helps to power-up this one…
This might be my favorite, as curiosity doesn’t have the same flavor if you don’t have humility in the mix.
Don’t do this one alone. You need people from inside AND outside the project or the company. Meet people, talk to them, ask questions and – most importantly – listen carefully.
Don’t base everything on data, we are talking about real people. People are emotional and irrational creatures.
Don’t assume you know them, even if you’ve been in this business for 10 years or more… Don’t choose easy cliches and draw quick conclusions.
You are better than that!
Remember that you are here to learn, confront all your beliefs and tackle your biases, no matter your expertise or your age.
We come back to your accountability.
You and your team are in charge of bringing results, not tweaking the results to match whatever ego or demands there may be involved here.
Set hypotheses and verify them with counterexamples. Take every opinion into account – especially those you don’t like!
Create a realistic story around your Buyer Persona and share it.
This story needs to be relevant for everybody around your project and your company. The Buyer Persona is the groundwork of your product and service development, your marketing plan, your customer support… everything.
Get it right.
Don’t let your Buyer Persona expire; continue your research and the learning process you have started.
People evolve constantly, impacted by events and their environment, so stay aware, accessible and flexible.
- Set habits & systems to measure and listen to people.
You are building relationships inside and outside of your project or company. Take care of the communication and the options people have to contact you. Also, be proactive and check up on people frequently – they will have very interesting feedback for you.
I made a podcast about these good habits, you can listen to it right here!
- Update your Buyer Persona frequently and not once every year…
Make the Buyer Persona a running project – and please stop the one-shot workshop so you can just check the box off as ‘Buyer Persona = done’
- Bring the Buyer Persona into every discussion, bring them to life.
Take 5 to 10 minutes in every meeting to bring an anecdote or new figures. That can be the “did you know…?” tradition in every meeting’s agenda.
And once you’ve done all of this… repeat!
This is the method for staying relevant and proactive – it’s the secret ingredient!
Voila! This information should help you stop wasting your time with wrong methods around the creation of a Buyer Persona – I hope you’ve found it interesting!
Do let me know if you use any of my tips! I’d love to hear how you get on and am always happy to discuss your projects, challenges and ambitions.
Thanks to this list of 10 questions, you’ll be able to create an accurate profile and discover how you can really help them in a relevant way.