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Creating Buyer Personas for B2B and B2C Companies

By January 14, 2013May 13th, 2019


I had the opportunity to speak to a group of people about creating B2B and B2C buyer personas last week. Here are the two things that generated the most questions:

  1. Buyer personas are NOT customer profiles or customer demographics.
  2. Using one of your buyer personas when writing posts or landing pages or ebooks, keeps the content focused on a targeted someone, with certain needs, goals and challenges.

Here is the slide deck which is posted on SlideShare.net.

 

 

Buyer personas are NOT customer profiles or customer demographics

An effective buyer persona is an archetype. It’s a fictional character that represents your ideal prospect. It is not a customer profile, although it usually contains some demographic information.

It is an in-depth composite of characteristics, behaviors and motivations of your ideal customer. When complete, it will help you understand the motivating beliefs, fears and secret desires that influence your customer’s buying decisions.

Personas are usually captured in 1-2 page descriptions that include behavior patterns, goals, skills, attitudes, and environment, with a few fictional personal details to make the persona a realistic character. This presentation of your personas should read like a story.

Buyer personas influence the content you write

Buyer personas enable you to create marketing content that is for someone, not for everyone. It just makes sense that the challenges and goals of a local shoe store are different from those of Home Depot. Or that the interests and passions of a young mother are different from those of an executive father. This is obvious.

A buyer persona helps us create content that is “zeroed in” on exactly who we want to attract and engage. And it provides this information broadly across your organization, so that Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and everyone else can get on the same page about your customers and prospects.

“I knew from the first words out of his mouth that she was a “Senior Sally”, so I knew exactly what approach to take in our conversation.”
~ Customer Service

Most businesses find that they don’t have more than 3-5 personas because these are archetypes, not customer profiles. If you have two B2B customers whose business challenges and concerns are similar, they are part of the same persona; even though one of them is a VP in a large company, and the other is the owner of a medium-sized family business.

Your personas will not necessarily be aligned with your market segments. Differences in industry, job title, and company size & revenue (for  B2B companies) or age, gender and family status (for B2C companies) don’t necessarily equate to different personas.

Differences in HOW they buy – what tools they use to research, what criteria they use for evaluating, what challenges and objections they have – reveal more about them than any demographics ever can.

B2B & B2C buyer personas are somewhat different

Everything I’ve said here relates to both B2B and B2C buyer personas. However, they are somewhat different.

When you’re interviewing your customers and prospects in order to develop your buyer personas, a B2B company would ask about the interviewee’s company and obtain some demographic data about the company size, where he or she fits in the organization, etc.

A B2C company would skip those questions, but would ask about shopping preferences, so you can better understand how your customer or prospect shops for products or services like yours.

B2B personas would likely use Twitter and LinkedIn, while B2C personas would likely use Facebook and Pinterest. So, even the platform you use to communicate might vary from persona to persona.

Personas provide clarity about who we are trying reach through our communications and whom to satisfy with our product development. Successful products and services focus on the needs of individuals who are identified through the use of personas instead of “somebody somewhere” or “everybody everywhere.”

Start using buyer personas and create content that will attract buyers to you.

What questions should you be asking to formulate your personas? Glad you asked! click below to get our B2B and B2C persona worksheets to get all the questions you need!

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.