Photo by Andrew Teoh on Unsplash

To begin with, a buyer persona is the target audience of a solution. Someone to whom we address our product or service and we believe is in need of what we have built or are going to build. Therefore, defining buyer personas is extremely important to make a product successful.

If we don’t know our clients how can we know what they want?

When identifying a buyer persona, we first make assumptions about a problem he/she has and that we want to solve (e.g. teenage girls cannot afford to buy first-hand vegan fashion apparel).

We then brainstorm and write down all we assume about the specific topic (e.g. sustainable fashion among teenagers) to have a clearer overview of the pain points that affect our potential customers.

Doing this allows us to come up with more specific ideas about who makes up our target audience in terms of demographics and recurring behaviors.

These characters we’re mapping out should be known archetypes in society, and the more archetypes we can come up with that have the same problem, the better:

  • A teenage girl living in Berlin follows Instagram influencers, cares about the environment, cannot afford first-hand vegan apparel, and struggles to find her size in second-hand stores
  • Young vegan mom working as a yoga teacher, environmentally-friendly and wants to transmit this value to her children, going shopping is very stressful for her because she cannot afford to buy vegan/sustainable clothes for both herself and the children, and second-hand stores don’t have a great variety of products.

When launching a new product or service we should try to aim at more than one buyer persona to broaden our potential market share.

How do we know if the above-(problem) statements are true?

The most important step in creating a buyer persona is validation. We have identified the problem and the solution (let’s say: a vegan fashion brand sells garments made of recycled material from used clothes that are picked up directly from customers, and for which they receive reward points), and now we need to make sure the problem is significant to the target groups by talking to them.

In order to track the success or failure of our assumptions, it is important to have underlined some metric criteria. For doing this, we need to draw out hypotheses, meaning actions we are going to take, to measure if our more general assumptions are true.

To give you an example, if the assumption is ‘teenage girls cannot afford to buy first-hand vegan fashion apparel’, then we could go ahead and interview them, and ask how much they were able to spend on the last piece of clothing they bought. The hypothesis could be ‘8 out of 10 teenage girls could not spend more than 30 euros for a piece of clothing. If this is true, then our assumption is confirmed and our solution should solve this problem (=making sustainable fashion more affordable).

Benefits of creating buyer personas

It is a studied fact that 9 out of 10 startups fail, and lack of market validation is one of the main reasons why this happens. Most companies fail because they know little or nothing about their customers. They believe their targets have pain points they do not truly have or assume wishes that are far away from reality.

User research helps solve this issue by giving businesses a better understanding of their customers and also noncustomers, allowing them to implement more effective product and go-to-market strategies.

In addition, it helps internal staff to understand customers more deeply, and subsequently be more engaged in the company’s vision and mission throughout each department of the organization. It also supports recognizing how and when different personas interact with the business along the customer journey and, most of all, assists the decision-making process for the creation and iteration of the product or new features.

B2B buyer personas

When we think of a customer we often picture the final individual that purchases our product. But this is different when we address other businesses: B2B buyer personas are usually identified as the key buyer or decision-maker inside a company.

In order to create B2B buyer personas, the demographic data that is usually taken into consideration (age, location, occupation) needs to be added to more detailed questions regarding the decision-making power of the persona.

  • What is their level of seniority as decision-makers?
  • What is important to them when they look for suppliers?
  • What are their job goals and what do they need in order to achieve them and be successful?
  • Are there any areas where they feel unsatisfied with a supplier? Are there any obstacles they are facing that we, as their supplier, can help them overcome?
  • Who are their current suppliers? How are they interacting with them communication-wise?

Once we have drawn enough assumptions from these starting points, we should “go out” and validate them by interviewing target users. Networking tools like LinkedIn, Clubhouse, or the recent Lunchclub are of great help in finding professionals that can help us in our research.

Key takeaways

  1. Knowing your customer’s needs, pains, and expectations is fundamental in order to be successful and deliver real and tangible value.
  2. Buyer personas are the archetypes of your customers, and you and your organization should have a very clear understanding of them to reach your mission.
  3. Validation can be done through user research, and talking to your customers will give you great insights into your target audience.
  4. Personas can be both B2C and B2B:
  • B2C personas are individuals
  • B2B personas are the decision-makers or decision-influencers in a company.

5. Marketing strategies should be based on the characteristics of personas that are suitable for each of these personas.

Customer Success @etonec