A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.
It’s been a while since we spoke about your customers. I keep insisting on the importance of knowing them, understanding them and talking to them, stating that everything starts from them. But honestly, since we started to talk about your customer-centricity journey, did you speak to one of your customers?
I know, I know… What to ask? Well, I have created a one-pager with a list of questions for you to download to help you with this. Let’s also explore it here…
When you’ve just met somebody it’s hard to get into a conversation about values, goals and habits. You’re likely used to some market research methodologies filled with product or service related questions on expected behaviors and customers’ likes and dislikes, or even the “evaluation” questions. These last ones, I think, are the worst…
I understand you want to know if people like your product or service but there are clever ways to evaluate this. You cannot expect to understand what people are really thinking with closed and guiding questions like:
“Did you like this product? Yes or No”, or “On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is the worst and 5 is the best, how did you like the product?”
These questions will not give you the insights you need to understand your customer.
Satisfaction surveys on products or services are not made to better understand the needs of your customer nor are they designed to build personas from. They are a way for managers to validate the assumptions they have been making whilst building their product or service.
This is also valid for questionnaires that intend to know people’s intentions. There is usually a huge gap between intentions and actions – remember your last New Year’s Resolutions..? You don’t build personas on intentions. So what do you build them on?
If you have an operating business, you already have access to a lot of information from your customers and some can be really helpful.
Thanks to the digital era or former surveys you may have a lot of data available and, if you are lucky, you might have a segmentation ready to target your current offer. There are a lot of different methods for building a segmentation, that I won’t elaborate on right now, but mostly you can rely on the following elements to build traditional market segments:
Sounds like a lot but let me reassure you, those who built segmentation with all of these elements are in the minority. Thanks to these pieces of information and data you can now make a choice about the type of segmentation you want to focus on:
Each can be used together to go deeper into the precision and accuracy of the segmentation helping the manager to understand the customer and make relevant decisions.
Be careful if you have an existing segmentation. Just because you already have one doesn’t mean that it’s the most effective one! As a manager, you are entitled to challenge the status quo. It’s what is expected of you. So make sure any existing segmentation answers the following requirements:
If you’re building or reviewing your segmentation, your work will be so much easier if you can check these four elements along the road. The quality of your analysis and segmentation will be boosted.
But you came for the questions, right? What are the questions to ask to gather this information?
Here you go – remember you can download this list of questions right below the article.
Voila… these are the ten things you need to know about your customers.
With this as your basis, you can build any questionnaire to further explore your customer understanding and refine your segmentation.
I also want to share some tips on optimizing your questions to make sure you have qualitative input for when you build your questionnaire. Clearly the quality of the answers you will receive depends directly on the quality of the questions you will ask!
OK, now you are ready to approach your customers and use the valuable insights you acquire to help your sales and marketing activities. After all, this data has so many important applications for your business plan and marketing efforts, particularly in how to market to your customers to get the best results.
It can be used to create a marketing plan, optimize content marketing strategy, better understand the types of content that can lead to inbound marketing success and differentiate you from a competitor. It can be used for marketing automation, to improve the sales funnel and better inform lead generation – and these are just a few examples.
The next step will be to analyze the results and build your persona profile, the one-pager that will accompany you on many CX methods and briefings on the road of new product and services development.
Here are some links to CX methods which you may find helpful:
The Persona is a key document. We’ll explore together how to build the one-pager persona very soon. In the meantime, you can always contact me if you have questions, or if you want support in elaborating on your questionnaire.
Don’t forget to download your PDF with the list of 10 essential questions to ask (right below the article) and let me know if you use it!
I would love to hear how you got on with your responses – whether from new customers, existing customers, or both – and how these influenced your marketing department and business goals.
I’m always happy to discuss your projects 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.
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The ultimate list of questions to finally understand your customers.
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