Today’s post is the fifth in our series about buyer personas. (If you missed the last four posts, read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 here.) Today we’ll talk about compiling all the data from your interviews into a single persona who represents the composite characteristics of your ideal customer.
Putting it All Together
When you’re done with interviewing, you’ll have a lot of data. Now you’ve got to sort through it and glue it back together into a persona (or several) who’s as real to you as your best friend.
You may have identified several personas before you began the process, or you might realize that you have more than one as you’re compiling the data. It’s tricky to get the right number — too many and you fragment your marketing, not enough and you miss marketing opportunities. Aim for 3 – 5, and add or subtract as necessary.
You also need to make him or her real to everyone in your company. If you have a sales and/or marketing team, get their input as you are compiling the data to create your persona(s). Make it a team effort so everyone will be aligned on who you’re marketing to.
Use a Worksheet to Sort Data
Go through your data and separate the interviews that belong to different personas. We use a worksheet that contains a comprehensive list of all the questions we want answered about buyer behavior to collect the data in one place. Some marketers write up a separate worksheet for each person they interviewed and then compile them into one. Our process is to take our notes from each conversation and use one worksheet to compile all the interviews that belong to a certain persona.
Look for commonalities between the interviews that belong to each of your personas. Of course, you will not find that every single person you interviewed uses Twitter, for example, but you will find similarities in their social media/internet savvy. Obviously this will affect how you market to them. If your persona doesn’t use social media, you wouldn’t try to reach them on Facebook.
You may find that one persona is not so fluent in the Internet language but another is fully conversant with it. This is the kind of difference that separates your personas, because it affects your marketing at a fundamental level, even if you are selling the same product or service to each of them.
One company, 3 personas
Take a company that makes job training software as an example. This business has at least 3 personas: C-Suite executives, the Director of the Human Resources department, and recruiters and coaches who resell the software to their corporate clients.
Marketing to these 3 groups of people requires differing strategies and tactics. The C-suite executive is ultimately accountable for the productivity of all company employees and thus is interested in how job training software can improve performance. The HR director might only be responsible for obtaining suitable candidates for open positions, not for the actual hiring and training; so they might be more concerned with how the software can help them identify and introduce the best candidates. The recruiters and coaches are interested in how the software can make their serivces more marketable to their own clients.
Once you have compiled all your data, you’ll start to get a feel for who this persona is, their behavior, motivation, and challenges. Now you need to make it real for everyone in your company who interacts with buyers. Next week we’ll discuss ways you can make your persona “come to life,” maybe not as real as Pinocchio, but real enough to inform your marketing strategy and messaging.