What is a customer persona?
Some people call it a Buyer Persona, others call it a Marketing Persona or a Customer Persona. These are all essentially terms to describe one thing which is how much do you know about who your target audience really is? And there are a lot of levels to that. Many large organisations have been successful at establishing strongly defined customer personas. Its one of those correlation vs. cause and effect debates.
On the flip side, a lot of businesses today like to think they know their customers to a big extent, but the reality is, if you haven’t done the exercise, you are more likely not 100% there. Having a proper grasp on your Customer Persona is a deal breaker and can make you or break you. So, you really want to invest time and resources in nailing this down.
Why build a customer persona?
So, what actually happens when you build a detailed customer persona? Well, seems obvious right? One of the things that may come out of that exercise is how much empathy your organisation starts to build out of that. You get to understand what their goals are, what they like and don’t like, how they spend their time and much more. This tends to transform your business functions from sales & marketing to product development and customer support.
Customer Persona allows you to move from an organisation centric mindset to a customer-centric mindset. So, you begin to put your customers at the forefront of everything. That energy starts to colour over everything you do, and your target audience starts to connect with it. You might say, well, that’s very qualitative and hard to measure. True. But you can measure the impact and results and that’s what we are more interested in after all. A direct result of empathy is two key things: Connection and Engagement – which can be game changers for your business.
How do you get started?
When you build your persona, a great practice is to aim to list as many persona attributes or characteristics as possible. From location, language, job title to buying motivation and buying concerns, the more the better. This will dramatically help you especially if you are running ads through channels (e.g. Facebook) that allow you to be highly targeted.
There are several ways and tools that will enable you to do build a proper Customer Persona. Here are my top 3 that I would personally use and strongly recommend. You don’t have to do all 3 but remember that the more data, the more people you emgage and the more variety of sources you have, the more solid your data is going to be.
Utilise your existing data
The chances are there is so much juice in your existing data but are not fully utilised yet. Start slicing and dicing your data to discover trends or insights about your existing cutomers.
Talk to your existing customers
Not all of them will happily take on the opportunity to talk to them but you don’t need to talk to all of them either. Don’t focus on your happy customers, reach out to random customers and talk to them.
Talk to your prospects
This is an interesting group of people. A prospect is anyone who engaged with your business in some shape or form but has not yet become your customer. This group can add a lot of value to your customer persona and help you identify who is your ideal customer but also who isn’t.
Hint: If you are looking for a template, you can find on hubspot a few good ones. They offer a nice template to get you started.