24 March 2016

The benefits of buyer personas

Tags:UX, CX

Too often, marketing departments develop buyer personas but don't introduce these critical characters to the rest of their organisation. Here's why everyone in your company needs to know these fictional yet functional players.

Why do we need buyer personas in the first place?

First and foremost, buyer personas allow you to segment your market, so you can hone in on the different segments and develop a general view of who those persons are who are coming to your products and services.

Second, buyer personas help you sanity-check ideas within your organisation. When someone in your company comes up with a great idea, you can ask, “Who would this appeal to from our personas list?” If you can’t answer this question, you’re probably targeting the wrong person. It’s a great way to take ideas off the table quickly if they don’t work.

Other organisations, who are producing content, may also question their personas in their writings: Who am I writing for? What would [persona] Fred think about this? Or what would Angela do about this? In a sense, they start having conversations with these fictional people.

Finally, buyer personas keep your organisation focused. When you’re trying to engage the customer, you know just who it is you’re dealing with.

Why do we need them throughout the organisation?

When used well, buyer personas can – and should – infiltrate your entire organisation, not just your sales and marketing teams. They are unifiers, and they help keep everyone on track towards customer-centric goals.

For example, at Squiz, we have our own personas, and we talk about them often. We do this, because as staff, we’ve gotten to know them intimately. Once you introduce them at an organisational level, they really help keep everyone on the same page – and on target.

How do we get buyer persona buy-in within our organisation?

The best way to get your teams to get to know – and use – your personas is to really bring them to life. Companies have done this in a number of creative ways. Some put their personas up on the wall, making them a key part of their everyday focus. Staff will hold meetings, for example, and look to the wall, asking, “What would Eliza think about this, and how would she word it, now that we understand who she is?” Others go so far as to use cut-outs – little cards that they can stand up on their desks – and get to know their personas that way. (It’s true. They do.) At Squiz, we introduce employees to our personas early on, at our staff induction.

Basically, buyer personas should be prevalent in everything you do. It’s really not difficult if you make the effort.

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